Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde headline Movistar’s line-up at the Tour de France, which was formally announced on Monday. It marks the second year in succession that the Spanish squad has fielded this triumvirate at the Tour.
As expected, Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz will not line out at La Grande Boucle and is instead likely to ride the Vuelta a España in August.
The Movistar Tour de France team does include two of the riders who helped Carapaz to Giro victory, namely Landa and Andrey Aamador. The roster is completed by Marc Soler, Carlos Verona, Imanol Erviti and Nelson Oliveira.
Landa was Movistar’s best finisher a year ago, placing seventh overall, while Quintana finished 10th and Valverde reached Paris in 14th place. While Valverde has downplayed any GC ambitions, both Landa and Quintana intend to target the maillot jaune in July.
While Ineos made a point of naming defending champion Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal as joint leaders when it unveiled its Tour line-up last week, Eusebio Unzue's squad released its line-up without spelling out the hierarchy, though Quintana's and Landa's were the first two names on the list.
Quintana warmed up for the Tour de France with ninth place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Earlier this season, he won a stage of the Tour Colombia and placed second to his compatriot Egan Bernal at Paris-Nice. Three times a podium finisher at the Tour, Quintana’s contract with Movistar expires at season’s end, and he has been linked with a move to Arkea-Samsic.
Landa played a pivotal supporting role in Carapaz’s Giro d'Italia victory and helped himself to fourth place overall in Verona. The Basque last combined the Giro and Tour in 2017, when he placed fourth overall. Like Quintana, Landa’s contract expires at the end of the year, and he is expected to transfer to Bahrain-Merida in 2020, sparking questions about loyalty and team leadership.
The world champion Valverde endured a relatively subdued spring in the rainbow jersey but has hit form in the build-up to the Tour. He claimed a stage and overall victory at the recent Tour de l’Occitanie and then landed his third Spanish national title on home roads in Murcia on Sunday.
The 2019 Tour gets underway in Brussels on Saturday.
Movistar Team for 2019 Tour de France: Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler, Andrey Amador, Carlos Verona, Imanol Erviti and Nelson Oliveira.