The Movistar team has announced its long-list for this year's Tour de France, which will begin in just over two week’s time. Alejandro Valverde will lead the squad, as he did last season and be backed by a mix of climbers and rouleur riders.
This will be Valverde’s seventh attempt to make the Tour de France podium. His best finish came in 2007, when he finished in fifth. Unlike the majority of his rivals, Valverde has chosen to ride the Route du Sud for his build-up to the Tour. The four-day French stage race in the Pyrenees starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday.
Last year’s second place and mountains classification winner, Nairo Quintana is not on the list of 13 riders. The Colombian is resting up after his victory at the Giro d’Italia before he makes a bid for the Vuelta a España later in the year.
Among the riders who have been named are Britain's Alex Dowsett, Spains' Beñat Intxausti and former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti. Dowsett made his Grand Tour debut with Movistar at last season’s Giro d’Italia, where he won the first individual time trial. He announced his intentions to ride his first Tour de France at the end of last season.
Intxausti has been growing as a team leader in his own right, but will be at the Tour de France to support Valverde. Meanwhile, Visconti is continuing on the comeback trail, after he broke his leg at the start of this season. The Italian recently finished the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Movistar long-list for the Tour de France: Alex Dowsett, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Iván Gutiérrez, Jesús Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Juan José Lobato, Rubén Plaza, José Joaquín Rojas, Sylwester Szmyd and Giovanni Visconti.