The Movistar team has confirmed that both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will target the Ardennes Classics. The Colombian climber will head to Belgium for next week’s Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, while Valverde will also line-up in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.
Quintana finished 50th in the 2013 Liege-Bastogne-Liege but skipped the Ardennes Classics in 2014 to prepare for the Giro d’Italia. Like many Tour de France contenders, he will ride this year’s Fleche-Wallonne to study the final kilometres and the Mur de Huy climb, that will host the finish of stage three of this year’s Grand Boucle. Quintana finished fourth overall in the last week's Tour of the Basque Country won by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Quintana won Tirreno-Adriastico in March and got a taste of the cobbles he will face in the Tour de France by riding Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke races in Belgium.
Valverde will ride all three Ardennes Classics and is likely contender for victory. He finished second in the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, beaten by Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in a sprint finish after Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) crashed in the last corner. Also in the Movistar team for the Ardennes are Imanol Erviti, José Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, José Joaquín Rojas, Rory Sutherland and Giovanni Visconti. John Gadret will ride the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.
Another Movistar team will also be in action in Spain this weekend at the three-day Vuelta a Castilla y Leon stage race, which starts on Friday. Beñat Intxausti will lead the team, with many of the riders recently named for the Giro d’Italia. Completing the seven-rider Movistar roster are Javi Moreno, Marc Soler, Winner Anacona, Enrique Sanz, Igor Antón and Jonathan Castroviejo.
Cyclingnews will have complete coverage of the Ardennes Classics, with live coverage of the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.