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Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana at the Vuelta al...

Movistar unveils Tour squad to support Quintana, Landa, and Valverde

GC trio will count on a balanced lineup for both flat and mountain stages

Movistar announced its starting eight for the Tour de France on Monday, naming the five riders who will support team leaders Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, and Alejandro Valverde in the three-week race.

Daniele Bennati, Imanol Erviti, and José Joaquín Rojas will be tasked with shepherding the overall contenders through the flatter days. The first half of the race contains plenty of those.

“These first nine days of the Tour will be even more dangerous than our direct rivals,” Movistar director Eusebio Unzué said last week. “Luck is going to become a determining factor of this Tour.”

A ninth stage will cap off that stretch of racing with cobbled sections sure to challenge the lighter GC types. By the time the Tour reaches its first rest day, crosswinds and pavé could have already helped sort out the much-discussed team leadership question facing a squad led by three bona fide GC talents.

That three-headed GC monster will look to Marc Soler and Andrey Amador for the mountains that follow.

The 24-year-old Soler has emerged as a budding star this season, winning Paris-Nice in March, while Amador has finished as high as fourth overall in a grand tour in the past.