Spanish squad send strong climbing trio to lead the team
To do that, they’ll field their three strongest climbers to lead the team in France, with two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana, third-place in 2015 Alejandro Valverde, and last year’s fourth place Mikel Landa all aiming for success at this year’s race.
It’s unclear who will be the designated leader of the team, with management likely to make a decision as form starts to show through the opening stages of the race.
Team boss Eusebio Unzué said he expects the team to have an advantage with it’s three-pronged attack, though they’ll face a difficult opening week of Classics-style stages including the Roubaix cobbles as well as a crucial team time trial on stage three.
“We have an option A, but also a B and another C,” Unzué told EFE news agency at the team’s press day last week.
“It’s a big advantage. We’ll see if that first part of the race treats us well, then we’ll enter the terrain where our three move very well and we’ll see what happens.
“We have to wait a bit for the first rest day to take stock, the road will help us decide who’s the best. We can’t ignore Nairo’s consistency, Alejandro has shown his trajectory and Landa gives us reasons to keep hopeful.”
The trio will be supported by a strong climbing unit of Paris-Nice winner Marc Soler and Costa Rica’s Andrey Amador. Alongside them will be riders to help guide them through the flatter stages, including former Spanish champion José Joaquin Rojas, veteran sprinter Daniele Bennati and Classics man Imanol Erviti.
The Tour de France kicks off on Saturday July 7 with a 201km flat stage from Noirmoutier-en-l’Île to Fontenay-le-Comte.
Movistar line-up for the 2018 Tour de France
Nairo Quintana (Col)
Mikel Landa (Esp)
Alejandro Valverde (Esp)
Andrey Amador (CRC)
Marc Soler (Esp)
José Joaquin Rojas (Esp)
Imanol Erviti (Esp)
Daniele Bennati (Ita)