Movistar announces first three riders for Giro d'Italia

Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre and Juanjo Lobato are named in the Movistar squad for May's Giro d'Italia, with riders to fight it out in the Tour of Romandie for the remaining places

Lobato wins stage two of the 2015 Tour Down Under
(Image credit: Watson)

With a title to defend, Movistar has announced three riders who will make up their team for May's Giro d'Italia, but last year's champion Nairo Quintana will not be present.

The Colombian will skip the year's first three-week Grand Tour in favour of challenging for the overall title at the Tour de France in July.

But Movistar's hopes will lie with Beñat Intxausti and Ion Izagirre in the challenging Italian mountains, while Juan Jose Lobato will be the team's hope in the sprint competition.

Lobato got off to a flying start in 2015, picking up his first win at the Tour Down Under and notching up three top-five finishes at the Tour of Dubai on his way to third overall.

Izagirre, meanwhile, comes off a strong Tour of the Basque Country, where he finished on the third step of the podium and Intxausti managed the same position at the Ruta del Sol back in February.

The rest of the team will be decided after the Tour of Romandie (April 28-May 3), with Igor Antón, Javier Moreno, Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti in contention for the remaining six places.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.