Movistar announce Tour de France squad

Movistar have announced their Tour de France line-up, trimming their long list down to a starting nine.

The Spanish squad are pinning their hopes on three-time podium finisher Nairo Quintana, coming off a runner-up performance at the Giro d'Italia. Although Quintana came up short in the first half of his attempt at Giro-Tour double, Movistar remain confident he has enough left in the tank to contend in the Tour this July.

Teammate Alejandro Valverde dominated his spring campaign, winning both the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco before defending his titles at La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but he has refuted suggestions of co-leadership. The 37-year-old has stated unequivocally that he will be at the race to "help Nairo [Quintana], and nothing else."

The spots of Quintana and Valverde on the Tour roster were secure. The other seven spots were up for the taking, with Movistar naming 12 riders in the running on their long list.

Spanish national road champion Jesús Herrada, three-time Spanish time trial champ Jonathan Castroviejo, Colombian climber Carlos Betancur, and former Giro top five finisher Andrey Amador are among those who will comprise the strong staff of support riders that Movistar will send to Dusseldorf on Saturday.

Daniele Bennati, Jasha Sütterlin and Imanol Erviti will round out the starting nine, leaving Alex Dowsett, Daniel Moreno, Rubén Fernandez, Nelson Oliveira and José Joaquín Rojas the quintet of long listers missing the cut.

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