Movistar have confirmed the trident of talent carrying their hopes at the 2019 Vuelta a España.
World champion Alejandro Valverde has been marked out as the leader by the Spanish WorldTour team, with Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz and Nairo Quintana also starring in the squad.
Movistar are fielding a characteristically strong squad for their home Grand Tour, with a powerful cast of supporting riders, including Marc Soler, Nelson Oliveira and Imanol Erviti.
The team were finally able to overcome their recent drought in three-week races this year, as Ecuadorian Carapaz rode to an unexpected victory in the 2019 Giro.
Carapaz, 26, had been holding well on the opening two weeks of the race, along with Spanish team-mate Mikkel Landa.
He then jumped from sixth overall to take the pink jersey on stage 14 to Courmayeur, and was unshakable in the final week, taking the race win in Verona.
Quintana has suffered another disappointing season this year, failing to challenge for victory at the Tour de France and having to settle for eighth overall.
The 29-year-old did win a consolation stage over the Galibier to Valloire on day 18, but was unable to better his best second-place finishes in France back in 2015 and 2013.
Quintana has previously won the Vuelta, beating Chris Froome (Team Ineos) in 2016, but has been far from his best in Grand Tours in recent seasons as he has targeted the Tour de France, the only three-week race missing from his palmarès.
Valverde, another former Vuelta winner who triumphed in 2009, has also ridden a quiet season after taking the World Championships at the end of last season.
His biggest victories this year were the overall at the Route d’Occitanie and the Spanish national championships, but the 39-year-old wasn’t a major factor in the overall battle at the Tour de France, as he eventually snuck into the top-10 by stage 21.
But with Quintana set to leave Movistar for Arkéa-Samsic and Carapaz thought to be switching to Team Ineos next season, Valverde is their chosen rider for the overall on paper.
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