Movistar, Alejandro Valverde and Spain have officially been awarded their trophies for their respective victories in the WorldTour. In a ceremony at the headquarters of team sponsor Telefonica in Madrid, UCI president Brian Cookson was on hand to dole out the awards to Valverde, Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué and Royal Spanish Cycling Federation chairman José Luis López. Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana was also on hand to accept the plaudits.
It is the second year running that Movistar have claimed the top spot in the team rankings. It went down to the wire in 2013 with the Spanish outfit nicking the victory from Team Sky at the final WorldTour event of the year, the Tour of Beijing. Heading out to China this year, the team already had it wrapped up and ended the season with a 228-point advantage over their nearest competitor BMC Racing.
"It's a big recognition for all of us: not only the riders, a marvellous roster which allows us to claim such important victory and, most especially, to take cycling in our country back to the place it deserves, but also the staff, all people into our team whose efforts lead us to the top," Unzué said in a team press release.
Valverde beat his compatriot Alberto Contador for the rider's classification. The 34-year-old took the majority of the team's victories throughout 2014, including success at Roma Maxima, Fleche Wallonne and a third place finish at the Vuelta a España. It was his second place finish at Il Lombardia that boosted him into the lead with Contador failing to pick up any points.
"It's been undoubtedly a great season, and a proof of that is we got this prize that rewards the best throughout the season," Valverde said. "It could have been even better with minor improvements, like the Tour podium, but at the end, I gave everything I had on my body and you can't really ask for anything else. Though it's difficult to repeat this season's success, there are goals we didn't achieve yet and we will fight to conquer them in 2015."
Spain has dominated the nations' classification since the WorldTour was brought in for the 2009 season. Italy's victory in 2011 is the only time that they have not taken home the award.
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