Movistar will send their three Tour de France captains together to the Vuelta a España next month. Mikel Landa, Nairo Quintana, and Alejandro Valverde will once again ride jointly to tackle the Grand Tour podium. Between them they have two overall victories in the Spanish race.
The team had aimed for victory at the Tour de France with their triumvirate, but managed only seventh overall for Landa, 10th for Quintana and 14th for Valverde. As a consolation, they are set to win the teams classification when the race concludes in Paris on Sunday evening.
Quintana started the Tour in the worst way, losing 1:15 on the first stage with two broken wheels. Struggling unsuccessfully to make up time the rest of the race, he bounced back to win the short high-mountain stage 17, moving up to fifth place but still 3:30 down. However, he was caught in a mid-race crash the very next stage, coming away heavily bruised, and he admitted after Saturday’s time trial that his injuries were still affecting him.
"Let’s move forward and look towards the Vuelta a España – I hope we can do well there," said Quintana, who won the Vuelta in 2016.
"We didn’t get the result we expected in the Tour, but we remained in contention, we never stopped fighting, and we hope to be in better condition in August and September, so we can get that great result there."
Landa, who finished fourth last year, crashed heavily in the Roubaix stage but was pleased with the way he bounced back in the mountains. He had a bad time trial on stage 20 and slipped from sixth to seventh overall, but wasn't overly disappointed with his Tour as a whole.
"Considering how shitty my performance was, the best thing I can extract from the day’s racing was riding in front of such an incredible crowd," he said of the time trial.
"I think I was able to be consistent during the Tour, all things considered. I was able to keep composure and confirm I’m a consistent rider who can be up there at all times, and got another top-10 placing. We might not have been as strong as we’d have wanted, especially on the climbs which suited us, but we can’t do anything to change what happened.
“Let’s hope that the Vuelta route ends up suiting our racing style better, and we take a bigger advantage over our rivals. Our approach to the season also kept focus on coming fresh into the late part of the calendar, so I hope to perform well in Spain next month."
Valverde won the Vuelta in 2009, which was the first year with a Continental team for both Landa and Quintana.
“I was one of three designated leaders at the start, but honestly, everyone knew I wasn’t – it was Mikel and Nairo who were leading the team. I had got 11 victories and four GC wins before the Tour, so I came here to support them,” he said.
“In the end, we won a stage, we got Mikel and Nairo into the top 10, we’re going to win the team prize – I feel it’s a great result for us. Now it’s some rest for me, enjoying some holiday and then thinking about the Vuelta – which will all be about preparing for the World Championships.”