|Team Movistar announced Monday the list of nine men that they will send to the world's biggest bicycle racing, the Tour de France, which starts June 30th in Belgium. The men that the Spanish squad will send to the Tour this year are Juanjo Cobo, Alejandro Valverde, Imanol Erviti, Vladimir Karpets, Rubén Plaza, Rui Costa, Vasil Kiryienka, José Joaquín Rojas and Iván Gutiérrez. The team will be lead by Valverde and Cobo in the overall classification while Rojas will be the team's main sprinter. The squad will be directed by Eusebio Unzué.
"I think it's a highly talented squad," said Unzué. "All of them already know the Tour and are real experts in Grand Tour, but the most important thing is that they all come in perfect condition to the start. It was difficult to rule Arroyo out, but it was just the same in the Giro when we left Quintana out of our selection. It's sad, because he was strong too, but only nine riders can make it."
"Last year we went for stage victories, but this season, having Alejandro must make us more ambitious," conceeded the Spanish coach. "We've got a team full of all rounders around him and, despite having spent three years without riding a GT, with the lack of knowledge about his chances that means, he's in great condition to be our leader and we're convinced he can fight for a podium place. It's obvious that, should we have been able to choose the route, we'd have preferred this Tour to have less kilometers of time trial, because riders like Wiggins, Evans or Menchov can make a massive impact, too difficult to be bounced back, but sometimes the Tour becomes an illogical race, and apart from Valverde, there are some more riders able to make the final podium. All those riders have to chase for their chances and avoid the gap by those 110 kilometers of TT's."
Movistar's Tour de France Selection
José Joaquín Rojas