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Movistar learn to work together and deliver Valverde to an emphatic stage win

Joseph Delves
30 Aug 2019

Quintana proves to be a perfect domestique at the sometimes fractious team

Given their sizeable budget, Movistar are often accused of under-delivering. With several riders frequently sharing leadership, the multiheaded approach hasn’t provided many Grand Tour wins. However, on a day the team declared they were transferring leadership in the race from Nairo Quintana to Alejandro Valverde, the pair finally got it together to snatch a fantastic win.

Having worked as a team to chase down the breakaway, on the slopes of the final climb Quintana drew out a select group of four, including himself and Valverde, along with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana).

As the two non-Movistar riders tried to settle into a rhythm, Quintana did a great job of upsetting any equilibrium by launching repeated digs. With Valverde able to wait behind, when he finally attacked he employed a touch of argy-bargy to easily overhaul both López and Roglič.

The win was a great result for the 39-year-old rider. Rumour has it that Movistar are happy to base their team around the World Champion next year, despite his advanced age.

Having previously dispensed with the services of Mikel Landa (who will soon ride for Bahrain–Merida), Quintana has signed a three-year deal with Arkea-Samsic, leaving Valverde as the last man standing from Movistar’s much-discussed triple-threat line-up.

Dropping down to a Professional Continental level team, next season Quintana will need to rely on wildcard entries to the biggest tours but will benefit from being his squad’s undisputed leader.

For his part, Quintana often seems happy to ride with little in the way of team support. At the same time, Valverde is not a rider hugley inclined to ride for anyone but himself. Somewhat justifiably as he’s the World Champion.

However, on this occasion, the whole squad worked well to chase down the break, before Quintana did an amazing job of setting up his teammate.

With the Veulta being the last Grand Tour they’ll ride together, it’ll be interesting to see what happens at any remaining races this year.