New Movistar recruit Eduardo Sepúlveda will lead the Spanish team's GC charge at the 36th Vuelta Ciclista a la Provincia de San Juan, the team revealed today as part of their roster announcement for the 2.HC race that begins January 21 in Argentina.
Sepúlveda, an Argentinian rider who signed a two-year deal with Movistar in the off-season after riding on the Pro Continental level with Fortuneo Vital Concept, will be joined in San Juan by new teammates Winner Anacona, Carlos Betancur, Richard Carapaz, Víctor de la Parte and Dayer Quintana.
Sepúlveda finished second in the 2016 Tour de San Luis in Argentina, sandwiched between winner Dayer Quintana and third-placed Nairo Quintana. He lost the overall lead on stage 6 but won the mountains jersey. He finished 11th overall this year at the Vuelta a San Juan, and the team picked him up after several years of trying to get him on board.
"It will be his debut riding with us, and although of course he won't be in top form, he will definitely try to do well," Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué said of Sepúlveda. "However, the others won't be bad, either.
"I'm sure that with us he will live up to his full potential."
While Sepúlveda will be tackling the GC in his first race with a WorldTour team, Colombians Dayer Quintana, Betancur and Anacona will "try to make the most of every opportunity in the absence of team leaders Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa," according to the team press release.
Unzué said De la Parte, a Spaniard who signed with the team last year from CCC Sprandi Polowice, has been training in Colombia and will go directly to the race from there.
Movistar will also field a team at the Tour Down Under, the first WorldTour race of the season. The Australian race starts January 16 with a 145km stage from Port Adelaide to Lyndochon. The team roster for that race has not yet been released. The team will also compete at the inaugural edition of the Colombia Oro y Paz in early-February with Nairo Quintana confirmed for the 2.1 race.
Movistar for Vuelta a San Juan: Winer Anacona, Carlos Betancur, Richard Carapaz, Víctor de la Parte, Dayer Quintana, Eduardo Sepúlveda.