Movistar announce Tour de France team

Movistar has announced their Tour de France line-up with Alejandro Valverde set to lead the Spanish squad in his first grand tour since his comeback from a two-year suspension. Recently crowned Spanish road champion, Fransisco Ventoso will miss out on starting his sixth Tour as the team looks to secure a high-place result in Paris with Valverde.

It will be a true test for the former Vuelta a Espana winner who has already shown promising signs this season when he came close to besting Australia's Simon Gerrans (Orica – GreenEdge) at the Tour Down Under in January. Valverde won the 'hilltop' finish in Willunga before going on to claim second-place overall – on the same time as eventual winner, Gerrans.

“Last year we went for stage victories, but this season, having Alejandro we must be more ambitious, we've got a team full of all-rounders. Despite having spent three years without riding a GT, with the lack of knowledge about his chances that means, he's in great condition to be our leader and we're convinced he can fight for a podium place” said Spanish director, Eusebio Unzué.

The final roster is Alejandro Valverde, Juan Jose Cobo, José Joaquín Rojas, Rubén Plaza, Vasil Kiryienka, Iván Gutiérrez, Imanol Erviti, Vladimir Karpets and Rui Costa.

“Apart from Alejandro, we have strong riders like Cobo, back in a grand tour after winning the Vuelta [2011] and into a race he really loves. I think he's coming in good form, I expect him to ride a good Tour and build to defend his title in the Vuelta later this year. Also, riders like Costa or Rojas, who are but progressing every single year and gaining importance inside the squad” said Unzué.

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