Movistar Team keeps building its 2017 project
Four of the Movistar Team's most valuable domestiques extend contracts beyond 2016; reinforce talented, all-terrain roster managed by Eusebio Unzué for next season
Movistar Team announces on Wednesday that Imanol Erviti, Rory Sutherland, Winner Anacona and José Joaquín Rojas have all signed new contracts that will keep them part of the Spanish outfit. The squad directed by Eusebio Unzué will thus retain four remarkable domestiques that gather twelve Grand Tours appearances combined in the past two years. Other details about their respective new relations with the team have not been disclosed.
Erviti, 32, will fulfil his 13th consecutive season as part of the only team he's raced for since becoming a pro. A heir of the long-standing tradition of respected road captains from Unzué's teams, Imanol is an unmissable reference for his team-mates at three-week stageraces -17 GTs, 16 of them complete-, at tough classics like the Ardennes… and also, as team leader, on the cobblestones, where he shone as never before last spring with magnificent performances in both the Ronde van Vlaanderen (7th) & Paris-Roubaix (9th). The Flemish early-season events and the 'Hell of the North' will be goals for him in 2017.
The serious injury suffered by Rojas, 31, at the penultimate stage of the recent Vuelta a España has not prevented the Blues extending their confidence on the Spanish road race champion's abilities. The man from Cieza near Murcia has relaunched his career thanks to sacrifice and commitment for his team-mates in all terrains. José Joaquín was present in 2016 at the Giro -where Valverde conquered a GC podium finish- and formed part of Nairo Quintana's winning squad in Madrid. Alongside the Colombian and at the Tour de France was countryman Anacona, 28, whose efficient response in the mountains has made him a crucial value for the team, as provided by his excellent work in the final mountain stage of the 2015 TDF in Alpe d'Huez.
In turn, Sutherland, 34, has gained massive respect from both team-mates and rivals with his dedication to team duties, developing a job not sufficiently appreciated by the TV cameras, always pushing at the front of the field in the beginning of the stages. His efforts alongside Imanol during the Vuelta, as well as his hard work at both the Giro and the Ardenas together with 'Bala', were remarkable and led the Movistar Team to big success throughout the 2016 season.