Movistar has held its official team presentation at the Madrid headquarters of the telecommunications brand, confirming success in the Grand Tours and further success in the WorldTour team ranking as major goals for 2016.
All the team’s 27 riders attended, bar Carlos Betancur who had apparent visa problems and Adriano Malori, who remains in hospital on Argentina after his crash at the Tour de San Luis. Riders arrived from the Tour Down Under in Australia and the Tour de San Luis in Argentina – won by Dayer Quintana, for the presentation and the start of the new European season.
2016 marks the sixth season of sponsorship by Movistar, which has key interests in Spain and South America. During the past five years, Eusebio Unzué's team has won nearly 150 races, finished as the World Number One Team in the WorldTour rankings for the last three years and achieved podium places in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
Last year Quintana and Valverde stood on the final podium of the Tour de France flanking winner Chris Froome (Team Sky), Britain’s Alex Dowsett set a new World Hour record, 21 years after Miguel Indurain, and Andrey Amador finished fourth overall in the Giro d'Italia. Movistar won a total of 31 races in 2015.
“Our goals are not anything we didn’t do during the last few years, so they’re achievable, and I’m also excited about the progression of our youngsters, the talent of our two big leaders and the huge team behind us. Together with our partners, the whole squad is fully focused on fulfilling the biggest goals, and under Telefónica’s sponsorship, we’re calm and confident that we will be able to fight for the Tour and many other big races.” Unzue said.
Nairo Quintana was again the centre of attention, alongside Alejandro Valverde. Quintana will target the Tour de France in 2016, with Valverde going for the Giro d’Italia on his debut in the Italian Grand Tour.
“We continue dreaming of the yellow jersey. We are concentrating on the Tour, where we have the greatest hopes and have dreamed about for so long. Then there are secondary objectives like the Olympics and to try again at the Vuelta a Espana,” Quintana said.
Valverde appeared with short hair and a long calendar of races for 2016. He is expected to ride the Tour de France in support of Quintana after targeting the Giro and is likely to lead the Spanish team in the Rio Olympic Games road race.
“It is a completely different calendar to the one I normally do and so we’ll see what happens. I’m normally resting in May but this year I have the Giro, so we will see how my legs respond,” he said. “I’m going to the Giro to give my best, get on the podium and why not even win it? We know it will be difficult and we face some very good riders but we will see what happens.”
Valverde will be supported at the Giro d’Italia Dowsett as he concentrates on the road for 2016 after breaking the world hour record last year. Much is also expected of talented young Spaniard Marco Soler, who won the 2015 Tour de L'Avenir. New signings for 2016 include Betancur, Dani Moreno from Katusha and Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira from Lampre-Merida.
Movistar roster for 2016: Andrey Amador (Costa Rica, 29 years old), Winner Anacona (Colombia, 27), Jorge Arcas (Huesca, Spain 23), Carlos Betancur (Colombia, 26), Jonathan Castroviejo (Vizcaya, 28) Alex Dowsett (Great Britain, 27), Imanol Erviti (Navarre, 32), Rubén Fernández (Murcia, 24), Jesús Herrada (Cuenca, 25), José Herrada (Cuenca, 30), Gorka Izagirre (Guipúzcoa, 28), Ion Izagirre (Guipúzcoa, 26), Juanjo Lobato (Cadiz, 27) Adriano Malori (Italy, 27), Dani Moreno (Madrid, 33), Javi Moreno (Jaén, 31), Nelson Oliveira (Portugal, 26), Antonio Pedrero (Barcelona, 24), Dayer Quintana (Colombia, 23), Nairo Quintana (Colombia, 25), José Joaquín Rojas (Murcia, 30), Marc Soler (Barcelona, 22), Rory Sutherland (Australia, 33), Jasha Sütterlin (Germany, 23), Alejandro Valverde (Murcia, 35), Fran Ventoso (Cantabria, 33) and Giovanni Visconti (Italy, 33).