The Movistar team has confirmed its team for the Giro d'Italia, with Juan Jose Cobo, Beñat Intxausti, young Italian Alex Capecchi, veteran Pablo Lastras, British time trial national champion Alex Dowsett and sprinter Fran Ventoso expected to lead the Spanish team's search for success.
The Movistar team has won 10 races so far this season. Last year Andrey Amador won a stage at the Giro d'Italia to Cervinia, while Ventoso won in Frosinone.
“The team's goal is continuing the streak from the last two years, when we got more than one stage victory," team manager Eusebio Unzué said in a press release.
"Taking one this year would be really good and notching up two can only be considered as superb. I think we're bringing a pretty solid squad, well balanced, with all riders coming in good form and having good chances."
For the overall, I rely on Intxausti and Cobo fighting with the top guns and maybe making it into the top ten. It might be just about time for Beñat - I think he's ready, he's got the experience and maturity he needs. Last year, he already proved he's able to get there. Cobo's performance is always an unknown, but it's important to know that he's in good condition, so you can expect he might be able to give his best level, like in previous times. Then there are riders like Capecchi and José Herrada, who come in good form and will get on the move for sure. If you add the solidness and experience from Lastras and Karpets, the good condition by Dowsett or the talent by Ventoso and Visconti, we're going with a strong block."
Unzué expects the Giro d'Italia to be a battle between Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali, with 2012 winner Ryder Hesjedal also a major threat.
"The race route is not really different from last years'. The first half of the race is crucial on a mental side - you must not lose time on those mid-mountain stages. The second one has plenty of big climbs: Galibier, Lavaredo, Stelvio and the mountain TT might be crucial for the overall. My race favourite? Of course Wiggins. Also Nibali, with his good form and his knowledge of the race. But I saw Hesjedal building up and getting stronger in the last few days, and I consider him as much favourite as the other two."
The Giro d'Italia stars on Saturday May 4 with a circuit stage in the centre of Naples.
The Movistar team for the Giro d'Italia: José Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Pablo Lastras, Fran Ventoso and Juanjo Cobo, Alex Dowsett, Vladimir Karpets, Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti.