Movistar leader Nairo Quintana to be backed by strong team of domestiques as he tackles the 2017 Giro d'Italia (May 5-28)
The 28-year-old from Essex had featured on the provisional roster for the opening Grand Tour of the season, but was not named in the final line-up revealed on Monday.
Despite a strong performance in the Tour de Romandie last week, where the 2013 Giro stage winner placed second in the prologue and went on a long-range solo attack on stage three, Dowsett will sit out the Italian Grand Tour.
Movistar’s squad has been wholly built around the general classification aspirations of leader Nairo Quintana. The Colombian is attempting the ‘double’ of contesting the Giro and then the Tour de France in July.
Perhaps seeing Team Sky’s recently-announced line-up to back co-leaders Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa, where Italian sprinter Elia Viviani was a surprise omission in favour of domestiques, Movistar appear to have followed suit.
Andrey Amador, Winner Anacona, Daniele Bennati, Víctor de la Parte, José Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, José Joaquín Rojas and Rory Sutherland will all back Quintana.
Quintana won the Giro in 2014, and the Vuelta a España last year. He goes into the race as leading favourite alongside defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Quintana won stage two of the Vuelta a Asturias on Sunday, and finished second overall.
“This year’s route is a very tough course, a demanding one,” Quintana said of the Giro. “The last week has an impressive amount of mountains to overcome. Big gaps should be made there – I feel like this year’s course has sought for the strongest climber to win it.
“I went on a recce of some of the final week’s stages some months ago: I had a look at Piancavallo and Asiago, as well as the previous climb to Monte Grappa, who will be a hell of a climb, but also the Blockhaus and the Foligno TT.”
On the subject of his big rival, Nibali, Quintana said: “This is ‘his’ race, he’s at home, it’s the 100th Giro. Surely he’ll reach the start in very good shape, and with his team racing it together for the first time, they’ll surely want to make their mark.”
The 2017 Giro d’Italia – the 100th edition of the race – kicks off in Sardinia on Friday, May 5 and concludes three weeks later in Milan, on Sunday, May 28.