MADRID – With eyes on the elusive Tour de France, the only Grand Tour absent from the team’s trophy cabinet, the Movistar team on Thursday presented its star cyclists ahead of the 2018 season, including Colombian mountain-stage specialist Nairo Quintana, Spanish all-rounder Alejandro Valverde and his fellow countryman, and new-signing, Mikel Landa.
At an unveiling ceremony in the Spanish capital Madrid, Movistar team director Eusebio Unzue made clear his intentions to surpass the team’s previous achievements, which include both the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia, with the goal of landing the coveted yellow jersey for overall winner in the Tour de France.
“The Tour will be the big objective of the year, we will try with these three roosters here, that’s the idea,” said the manager, designating the leading riders with an avian nickname that evoked France’s national animal.
However, before the Tour gets underway in July, the Movistar trio will warm up in several smaller road races.
Quintana is to make his first outing of the year closer to home as he takes on the inaugural edition of the Oro y Paz stage race in Colombia, which is part of the UCI American Tour 2018.
Valverderde, who crashed out of the 2017 Tour de France following a nasty fall, will begin this year at the Challenge de Mallorca.
Former Team Sky rider Mikel Landa will make his Movistar debut at the Vuelta a Andalucia, a 5-day stage race down Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The Spanish telecommunications company also unveiled its brand new women’s cycling team, which is scheduled to take on 10 races in the coming seasons.
“We are going to concentrate on international races, that is how we can reach the level of the rest,” said women’s team member Lourdes Oyarbide.