Spanish WorldTour team Movistar have confirmed its eight-rider team to support Nairo Quintana for this week's Route du Sud, the 26-year-old's final race before July's Tour de France. Quintana, who won the race in 2012, finished second to Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) last year on the eve of the Tour where he was second overall to Chris Froome for the second time in three years.
Having started his season with third at the Tour de San Luis, a race won by brother Dayer, Quintana won the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya for the first time in his career. The Colombian backed up his win with third place overall at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco several weeks later, going on to win the Tour de Romandie in late April for the first time.
Quintana returns to Europe after several weeks of training at home in Europe, explaining at a press conference prior to his flight that "I've trained one hundred percent to reach the big goal".
"The last races we've done ended a month ago, and we are also facing a tough race in the Tour. I've done the race several times - I won once (2012) and last year I was second (behind Alberto Contador). It has enough French mountain roads, and is good enough to finish the preparation."
Just one rider from Movistar's 12-rider long list of the Tour, Imanol Erviti, joins Quintana for the 2.1 French stage race. Dayer Quintana has been selected for the race alongside his older brother to provide support in the mountains. Australian Rory Sutherland will act as the road captain while Javi Moreno returns from the broken collarbone that ended his Giro d'Italia. Spanish riders José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler and José Herrada complete the line up.
The four-day five stage race starts with 196km stage from Saint-Pons-de-Thomières to Bessières on Thursday June 16, concluding June 19 with a 154.8km stage from Ger to Astarac Arros en Gascogne.
Movistar for 2016 Route du Sud: Nairo Quintana, Imanol Erviti, Javi Moreno, Rory Sutherland, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler, José Herrada and Dayer Quintana.