Nairo Quintana is looking for his second Spanish WorldTour stage race in as many weeks with Movistar at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco having recently won his first race of the season at the Volta a Catalunya. The 25-year-old won the Basque Country stage race in 2013, finished fourth in his last appearance in 2015 and will start the race as one of the favourites for overall victory in 2016.
Quintana will first warm up for Pais Vasco at the GP Miguel Indurain this coming Saturday. Movistar occupied two of the three podium places last year with Ion Izagirre and Beñat Intxausti having won the race with Alejandro Valverde in 2014 and bring a squad that includes Dani Moreno and the Izagirre brothers. Movistar will then look to Giovanni Visconti and Jesús Herrada in the sprint friendly Vuelta a La Rioja, won by Orica-GreenEdge for the last two years, the following day.
At the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Quintana will be ably supported in the mountains by fellow Colombian Winner Anacona, the Izagirre's, Moreno, Giovanni Visconti and Jesús Herrada while Rory Sutherland will act as a bodyguard, protecting the 2014 Giro d'Italia champion. Having finished fourth at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, second at the Volta ao Algarve and fifth at Paris-Nice, Ion Izagirre is an in-form second option for the overall classification.
Having made his debut with the team at Milan-San Remo, Carlos Betancur then headed north for the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem cobbled classics but is yet to finish a race with his new team. The Colombian has been selected for both the GP Miguel Indurain and Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja 1.1 one-day races with the Circuit de La Sarthe likely to be his first stage race of the season next week.
The Spanish team have also announced its roster for the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders with Costa Rican Andrey Amador making his fifth appearance at the Belgian monument. Jasha Sütterlin, 23, makes his ninth start in a monument while Jorge Arcas gets his first start at De Ronde. Nelson Oliveira and Fran Ventoso will be handed leadership roles alongside Amador as Movistar look to break into the top-15 for the first time at the race.
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Movistar for the GP Miguel Indurain (April 2): Carlos Betancur, Jesús Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Dani Moreno, Antonio Pedrero, Nairo Quintana, Giovanni Visconti.
Tour of Flanders (April 3): Andrey Amador, Jorge Arcas, Imanol Erviti, Juanjo Lobato, Nelson Oliveira, Dayer Quintana, Jasha Sütterlin, Fran Ventoso.
Vuelta a La Rioja (April 3): Winner Anacona, Carlos Betancur, Jesús Herrada, Javi Moreno, Antonio Pedrero, Marc Soler, Rory Sutherland, Giovanni Visconti.
Vuelta al País Vasco (April 4-9): Winner Anacona, Jesús Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Dani Moreno, Nairo Quintana, Rory Sutherland, Giovanni Visconti.