• Movistar Nairo Quintana is one of four riders in the mix to win the 2015 Tour de France. (AAP)Source: AAP
Movistar has selected its squad for the 2015 Tour de France with the general classification pyrotechnics expected to come from Colombian climber Nairo Quintana.
Cycling Central

1 Jul 2015 - 10:47 AM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2015 - 11:17 AM

The team will also line up at the 4 July Grand Depart in Utrecht, The Netherlands, with Alejandro Valverde, Imanol Erviti, Jonathan Castroviejo, Gorka Izagirre, José Herrada, Adriano Malori, Alex Dowsett and Winner Anacona.

“It's the most balanced squad and the one that brought us everything we needed in all terrains", Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué said. "I already stated before the Giro that building the nine-man squad for Italy had already been really difficult, but seeing the names we had left out shows that doing so for the Tour was even harder.

"We start with riders ascribed to three different roles: a more climbing group, with Winner and José, allrounders like Gorka or Jonathan, useful in all situations, and talented rouleurs like Alex, Adriano or Imanol, who will keeps us calm into the flat stages."

The 25-year-old Quintana has had a relatively quiet 2015 as he prepared for a highly anticipated showdown with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Sky) and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the Tour.

When he did show it was clear that he was on target, with revealing performance at the Tirreno–Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country, Tour de Romandie and Route du Sud.

Contador wins pre-Tour battle with Quintana
For both Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana the Queen stage of the Route du Sud was all that mattered as both riders continued their preparations for the Tour de France.

Quintana won Tirreno–Adriatico but it was his measured performance relative to Contador at the Route du Sud which would have given him confidence for his most important target. There matched the 2015 Giro d'Italia champion with each pedal stroke but refused to empty the tank.

While Quintana has been named as the team's clear leader, the looming presence of the opportunistic and ageless Valverde remains a handy option if he falters even slightly.

"Our leadership is clear, Unzué said. Nairo is the team's main reference on the road. However, and knowing how this race works and all the circumstances you can go through during a Tour de France, we can't rule out Alejandro staying by his side and also keeping his chances alive until the facts show otherwise."

Movistar for the Tour de France
Nairo Quintana (COL), Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Imanol Erviti (ESP), Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP), Gorka Izagirre (ESP), José Herrada (ESP), Adriano Malori (ITA), Alex Dowsett (GBR) and Winner Anacona (COL).

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