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Movistar Grand Tour trio head to Roubaix cobbles

Joe Robinson
10 Apr 2018

Valverde, Quintana and Landa ride the cobbles ahead of 2018 Tour de France

The Movistar Grand Tour General Classification trio of Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa have headed to the cobbles of northern France in preparation for this year's Tour de France.

The Spanish WorldTour team took to the pave today in preparation for Stage 9 of this year's Tour from Arras to Roubaix, which will contain a total of 15 sectuers of pave.

The three riders will all go in to this year's Tour as joint leaders for GC with the overall leader being decided during the race. Potential time loss on the cobbles could be a significant factor in who becomes the primary leader.

The leading trio were joined by teammates Jasha Sutterlin and Imanol Erviti - a former top 10 finisher in Paris-Roubaix - as well as Marc Soler who made an impressive debut at Roubaix last weekend.

Stage 9 to Roubaix could cause concern for the Movistar team. Traditionally, the team have been weak when taking to the stones in the past and the lightweight nature of Landa and Quintana could be exploited come the stage.

Both riders raced Cobbled Classics this Spring, E3-Harelbeke and Dwaars door Vlaanderen respectively, in order to gain experience in the peloton on the cobblestones. Both riders managed to finish their races.

Valverde also raced Dwaars door Vlaanderen, where he finished 11th, even mounting attacks throughout the race, proving the class and ability of the veteran racer on multiple surfaces.

Sports director Jose Luis Arrieta commented on the team's decision to head to Roubaix ahead of July.

'What we wanted here was to get a real feeling about the terrain: how you enter and tackle every sector, which ones of them could be key - it's obvious that it will all be a different story when you're racing and into a furious peloton, but I'm sure this recon will really help us a lot,' said Arrieta.

'We were also lucky, since we had two days of dry weather, which allowed us covering the entire group of sectors with no setbacks.

'Taking advantage of all materials we already had here in northern France for Roubaix, we also tested different wheelsets, tyre pressures - it's also about having everyone going into this stage, come July, with absolute confidence about what's best for them.'