Eusebio Unzué offered on Monday the nine-man lineup the Movistar Team will present at the 71st Vuelta a España, which starts on Saturday 20 August and ends on Sunday 11 September. The respective third-place finishers in this year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, lead the telephone squad, joined by Rory Sutherland, José Joaquín Rojas, José Herrada, Imanol Erviti, Rubén Fernández, Jonathan Castroviejo and Dani Moreno.
Valverde, winner of the race in 2009, will take the start in his 21st three-week stagerace as professional rider, the fifth consecutive for the 36-year-old Spaniard (3rd, Tour ’15; 7th, Vuelta ’15; 3rd, Giro ’16; 6th, Tour ’16). Alejandro has a landmark success within reach: become the only rider, since the Vuelta was moved back to September in 1995, to complete all three Grand Tours of a single season within the top ten riders overall. Should he achieve such a fear, he’d become the third in history, after Raphaël Geminiani (1955) and Gastone Nencini (1957) completed that challenge when all Vuelta, Giro and Tour were covered in a space of three months.
In turn, Quintana will try to complete the treble of podiums in Grand Tours, having come up just 33″ short in 2015 as he finished fourth in Madrid. The man from Boyacá, podium finisher in all six stageraces where he’s taken part this season -and winner of three of them (Catalunya, Romandie, Route du Sud)-, will have a strong group by his side, with powerful, experienced rouleurs such as Erviti and Sutherland; talented allrounders, like Castroviejo or Rojas; and agile climbers in Moreno, Herrada or Fernández, the latter being the only debutant in the Vuelta from the Blues this year.