2017 Giro: The Movistar Team's legacy
An overview on Unzué's squads in the Giro d'Italia, with 3 overall triumphs, 7 podium finishes and 18 stage wins to his account – most of them in Movistar Team colours
29 years after their first presence in the Giro d'Italia, Eusebio Unzué's organization will face their 22nd appearance in the 'Corsa Rosa'. Ever since the Reynolds squad led by Pedro Delgado debuted in 1988, the Spanish outfit has built a history of success in the (currently) first Grand Tour of the season.
Miguel Indurain's bloom in the Italian stagerace in the early 90s –the legend from Villava won the Giro in 1992 and 1993, with four stage victories in the process, and finished 3rd in 1994– was, though, only an early show of the group's quality, Unzué's squad absent in three editions before returning at the dawn of the century. There came two more stage wins, both from remarkable characters: Pablo Lastras (Gorizia, 2001) and Joan Horrach (Sestri Levante, 2006).
In the first decade of the new millenium, the final podium of the Giro saw two members from the Banesto / Caisse d'Epargne teams succeeding Indurain, with Unai Osa taking 3rd in the 2001, behind Simoni and Olano, and a remarkable David Arroyo. The 'manchego', twice top-ten finisher, came a sensational runner-up in 2010 to Ivan Basso, after wearing the Maglia Rosa for five days and holding off Vincenzo Nibali's final charge for 2nd place – including a magnificent Mortirolo descent on stage 19.
The arrival of Telefónica as title sponsor in 2011 switched the now-called-Blues towards full Giro focus. In their first season with Movistar on their chest and back, the team claimed as many victories as they had done for the past fourteen editions combined. Fran Ventoso took a stunning victory at Fiuggi's uphill sprint, against Alessandro Petacchi, and Vasil Kiryienka crowned an unforgettable breakaway towards Sestriere as a tribute to Xavi Tondo, who had tragically died five days before.
Ever since then, the Movistar Team always kept a place of honour in the Giro d'Italia. Ventoso won another stage in 2012, an edition which also witnessed Andrey Amador's breakthrough with a stage success in Cervinia. 2013 brought no less than four victories: Alex Dowsett bested top favourite Bradley Wiggins at the long Saltara ITT and the Blues claimed three consecutive wins with Giovanni Visconti -stage 15, atop the snowy Col du Galibier, and 17, in Vicenza- and Beñat Intxausti, who took a late breakaway to fruition in Ivrea on stage 16 after donning the pink jersey for 24 hours in the first week of racing.
The 2014 Giro was a landmark success for the Movistar Team, as they claimed their first Grand Tour in Blue. Nairo Quintana confirmed what he looked to be a year before in the Tour de France by claiming the final Maglia Rosa with excellent Blue teamwork. The Cóndor from Boyacá took two stage victories in Val Martello, under dreadful conditions through the Stelvio and Gavia mythical climbs, and also the Monte Grappa TT, where he proved to be the strongest man in the race.
2015 and 2016 extended the love story between the Movistar Team and the Giro d'Italia. Two years ago, Beñat Intxausti won atop one of the most demanding mountain-top finishes in that edition at Campitello Matese, while Visconti claimed the first Maglia Azzurra (KOM ranking) in the team's history. And last year, Alejandro Valverde completed a resounding debut in the 'Corsa Rosa' by adding a stage win in Andalo to his palmarès -and completing the treble after 9 Vuelta and 4 Tour successes- and finishing 3rd on the final podium. Amador, 4th in the 2015, was 8th this time after a 24-hour spell in pink.
TEAM HISTORY IN THE GIRO D'ITALIA
88; 91-95; 98-01; 05-17
3 overall victories
92 Miguel Indurain
93 Miguel Indurain
14 Nairo Quintana
7 podium finishes
10 David Arroyo (2nd)
94 Miguel Indurain (3rd)
01 Unai Osa (3rd)
16 Alejandro Valverde (3rd)
18 stage victories
92 Miguel Indurain (San Sepolcro, ITT)
92 Miguel Indurain (Milano, ITT)
93 Miguel Indurain (Senigallia, ITT)
93 Miguel Indurain (Sestriere, ITT)
01 Pablo Lastras (Gorizia)
06 Joan Horrach (Sestri Levante)
11 Fran Ventoso (Fiuggi)
11 Vasil Kiryienka (Sestriere)
12 Fran Ventoso (Frosinone)
12 Andrey Amador (Cervinia)
13 Alex Dowsett (Saltara, ITT)
13 Giovanni Visconti (Col du Galibier)
13 Beñat Intxausti (Ivrea)
13 Giovanni Visconti (Vicenza)
14 Nairo Quintana (Val Martello)
14 Nairo Quintana (Monte Grappa)
15 Beñat Intxausti (Campitello Matese)
16 Alejandro Valverde (Andalo)
42 days in Maglia Rosa
92 Miguel Indurain (20)
93 Miguel Indurain (9)
10 David Arroyo (5)
13 Beñat Intxausti (1)
14 Nairo Quintana (6)
16 Andrey Amador (1)
* Bold denotes victories in Movistar Team colours