Movistar confirms Quintana will race Vuelta

Nairo Quintana joins a growing list of superstar GC contenders slated to start the 2015 Vuelta a España

The 2015 Vuelta a España just keeps getting better.

With riders such as Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) set to race the Spanish grand tour, Movistar confirmed Monday that Nairo Quintana will also be at the August 22 start line.

Runner-up at the Tour de France in July, Quintana remained undecided on whether or not he would race the Vuelta. The Colombian sensation was said to be leaning toward skipping the race, but Movistar wants its superstar to start what will be his second grand tour of the 2015 season.

Quintana will link up with Alejandro Valverde, who rode to a career-best third at the Tour in July. The pair rode in tandem in France, giving Chris Froome (Sky) a run for his money. At the Vuelta, however, it is expected that Valverde will be the outright team captain, putting less pressure on Quintana.

Last year, Quintana won the Giro d’Italia, skipped the Tour, and started the Vuelta with high ambitions. A pair of crashes, however, sent him packing home early (though not before he’d spent a day in the red leader’s jersey).

Movistar officials confirmed Quintana’s presence Monday, and said more details about the team’s Vuelta lineup and strategy will be revealed in the coming days. With Quintana’s start at the Vuelta, it’s unlikely he will try to win a third straight title at the Vuelta a Burgos, which starts Tuesday in northern Spain.

Vuelta officials are hopeful Froome will also decide to race the Vuelta, which he has said he is considering. 2014 champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) ended his season already, and will not defend his title.

Other confirmed starters include Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).

The 70th Vuelta begins August 22 with a team time trial at Puerto Banus along Spain’s Costa del Sol.