Event at company's Madrid headquarters
Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde visit Madrid HQ before taking on final preparations prior to ‘Grande Boucle’.
Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde, the Movistar Team’s three current biggest names, visited Telefónica’s headquarters in Madrid on Monday to receive support from employees and executives of the company, just over two weeks before the start of the 2018 Tour de France.
The event, conducted by Telefónica’s partnerships director Rafael Fernández de Alarcón, saw the three riders reflecting on their ambitions for the Blues’ biggest event of the season, which they are tackling in great form as shown by the results obtained in the stageraces finishing on Sunday –Quintana finished 2nd overall and won a stage of the Tour de Suisse, Landa came close to another victory on Helvetic soil and Valverde won the Route d’Occitanie overall in France, plus one stage–.
“We go to the Tour with big hopes to shine,” said Quintana as team-mate Landa underlined the roster’s strength: “It’s not just the three of us; with the five team-mates we’ll have at the start with us, the lineup will be one to fear.” Valverde emphasized that collective threat: “The race will set things straight as usual, but having three chances to win offers us many strategical choices we’ll try to take advantage from.” In turn, Fernández de Alarcón spoke on behalf of all Telefónica employees’ expectations to the riders: “For Telefónica, it’s a big pride to have such great ambassadors as you all. We know you’ll leave everything you’ve got on the road for our brand, and we want you to feel that we’ll all be rooting for you from here.”
During the press conference, the Movistar Team’s general manager Eusebio Unzué unveiled a ten-man shortlist from which the final eight names to wear the Movistar Team jersey at the 2018 Tour de France grand départ (Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, 7th July) will come out. As well as Quintana, Landa and Valverde, the list includes the names of Andrey Amador (CRC), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Imanol Erviti, Nelson Oliveira (POR), José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler and Jasha Sütterlin (GER).
The team will take on their eighth consecutive TDF under Movistar’s sponsorship. During that period, the Telefónica-backed squad has claimed 6 stage wins, 4 final podiums –two runner-up finishes with Quintana (’13, ’15) and two third places with Valverde (’15) and Nairo (’16)– and got to the top of the podium in the Champs-Élysées as winners of the KOM, best Young Rider (2013) and Teams (2015, ’16) classifications.