Movistar will be backing Nairo Quintana, its perennial challenger for the top step of the Tour podium, as it lines up for the 2017 Tour de France. Quintana may have fallen short of his stated goal of claiming the Giro-Tour double, coming second to Tom Dumoulin, but the Colombian climber is showing quite good form at the moment and could mount a legitimate challenge should Froome falter.
Quintana can count on a stellar cast of supporting players, led by Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard has been on fire this season, claiming a number of big races including Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, as well as showing good form in the one week tours leading up to the Tour de France. Of course, Quintana has to live with the fact that his biggest ally can also be one of his greatest rivals, even though Valverde has been quick to say that he is only there to support Quintana. Whether Quintana, Sky, or anyone else buys that remains to be seen.
In the mountains, Quintana can also count on ace climber Carlos Betancur, as well as Andrey Amador, who is quite a capable general classification rider as well, having claimed a top ten finish in the Giro in 2016.
The team also includes a number of very strong time trial riders in Jonathan Castroviejo, the current Spanish TT champion, and Jasha Sütterlin. Along with Imanol Erviti and Spanish road champion Jesus Herrada, they will protect Quintana on the flat stages and control the race on the run up to the major climbs.
The only potential concession to the ‘all for Quintana’ mantra may be the inclusion of Daniele Bennati, who packs a very good sprint finish. However, he is also an excellent and vastly experienced domestique, so he is likely to play an important role on the road when it comes to guiding Quintana through the bunch.
Movistar 2017 Tour team: