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Quintana and Landa get Tour de France nod for Movistar in 2019

Team drops triple-threat approach with Valverde heading to the Giro and Vuelta

Joe Robinson
18 Dec 2018

Movistar have decided against a repeat of their three-pronged Grand Tour General Classification attack for the 2019 season after the strategy failed to reap dividends in 2018.

At a press conference in Madrid, Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzue confirmed that the team would be spreading its GC talent across all three Grand Tours next season with Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa heading to the Tour de France. 

Spaniard Landa will be heading to the Tour in July having already raced the Giro d'Italia in May, where he will share GC responsibilities with current World Champion Alejandro Valverde, who will be lining up for the Italian Grand Tour for just the second time in his long career.

Valverde will also head to the Vuelta a Espana with Quintana in August, missing the Tour in between, making him the first reigning World Champion to miss the sport's premiere stage race in a decade. 

Talking to reporters, Unzue said that 'the objective is to win a Grand Tour' and that while Landa and Quintana underperformed in 2018, he was sure the team could rectify this situation and win a first Grand Tour since Quintana's 2016 Vuelta a Espana title.

Last season, Movistar's best performance at a Grand Tour came not from any of its three main leaders but rather young Ecuadorian rider Richard Carapaz, who finished fourth at the Giro.

Movistar fell well short of expectations at the Tour with its triple threat approach largely backfiring. Eventually, Landa finished highest in GC, managing only seventh, while Quintana came in 10th and Valverde 14th.

Valverde rectified a disappointing season for Movistar by taking fifth at the Vuelta and then winning the World Championships, albeit riding for Spain. Movistar also tasted multi-day success through homegrown talent Marc Soler, who won Paris-Nice at the beginning of the season.

Valverde now joins a growing list of impressive talent who have decided to snub the Tour for the Giro next season. So far, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Yates, Miguel Angel Lopez and Vincenzo Nibali have all decided to challenge for pink rather than Tour yellow in 2019, while it is expected that Team Jumbo's Primoz Roglic will also head to Italy rather than France in 2019.

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