After Movistar struggled to realize their Tour de France ambitions, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will have another shot at a Grand Tour victory, with the Colombian and Spaniard set to headline the team for the Vuelta a España.
Quintana won the race in 2016, while Valverde was the overall winner in 2009 at a time when his participation was clouded by him being linked to Operación Puerto blood bags by DNA evidence and banned in Italy. CAS would later impose a two-year ban but allowed his Vuelta title and other results to stand.
Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué will look to improve upon the team's Tour de France performance, where Quintana won stage 18 to move into 5th place overall only to crash the next day and fade to 10th. Valverde, who sacrificed his race to set up his teammates in the Alps, finished 14th.
The squad will not head to the Vuelta with the same triple-leader strategy, as Mikel Landa has been ruled out of racing due to injuries from a crash in the Clásica San Sebastián.
Instead, the squad will rely on Andrey Amador, Imanol Erviti, Daniele Bennati - who also raced the Tour de France - Winner Anacona, Richard Carapaz and Nelson Oliveira to support Quintana and Valverde.
The 2018 Vuelta a España starts in Málaga with an 8km individual time trial before a short uphill finish in Caminito del Rey the following day. The race's first summit finish comes on stage 4 with the category 1 Puerto de Alfacar, but the key stages come later in the race, with a trio of mountain finishes in La Camperona on stage 13, Les Praeres Nava on stage 14, and Lagos de Covadonga on stage 15, followed by the final week's stage to Balcón de Bizkaia in the Basque Country and then the finale in Andorra on stages 19 and 20.
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