Viviani leads Quick-Step Floors at Vuelta a Espana

Morkov and Sabatini for the lead-outs, Mas and De Plus with free roles

Quick-Step Floors have announced their eight-man squad for the 2018 Vuelta a España, which starts in Malaga on August 25.

The Belgian team's star turn will be Italian sprinter Elia Viviani, who heads to Spain having missed the Tour de France, and should be firing on all cylinders if his Giro d'Italia performance in May is anything to go by.

The 29-year-old won four stages and came away with the purple sprinter's jersey at the Giro, and went on to win three stages at the Adriatica Ionica and then the Italian national championships road race.

Denmark's Michael Mørkøv and Italian Fabio Sabatini have been tasked as being Viviani's principal lead-out men, but the entire team will be expected to lend a hand to ensure that the team continues its run of having won stages in the last eight Grand Tours.

"Elia has had a tremendous season, and will be our card on the stages that could come down to a bunch sprint, where Michael and Fabio will make for a strong lead-out train, as they have done with success so many other times this year," Quick-Step directeur sportif Rik van Slycke said.

The team will count on the experience of 35-year-old Belgian Dries Devenyns and compatriot Pieter Serry, 29, while Spanish youngster Enric Mas returns to his second Grand Tour, and second Vuelta, after scoring his first pro win on the final stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in April.

"Enric has proved throughout this season that he can stay with the best on his day," said Van Slycke. "He'll start with a free role, without any kind of pressure, and then we'll see what the race will bring, GC-wise."

Laurens De Plus will be handed a similar role, said Van Slycke, while 23-year-old Dane Kasper Asgreen will start his first Grand Tour.

"It will be a big and important step for his development and we look forward to see how far he can go," Van Slycke said of the Dane.

"Overall, we have a strong and determined squad that blends youth and experience, and we will be ready to take responsibility, animate the race and create chances, instead of just waiting for them to come."

Quick-Step Floors for the Vuelta a España: Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Enric Mas, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Pieter Serry, Elia Viviani

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