• Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana at the Movistar Team launch (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Movistar confirmed they remain hungry for Grand Tour glory at the team launch held yesterday in Madrid.
Cycling Central

Movistar Team
28 Jan 2016 - 9:29 AM 

The 2016 team was officially presented at the headquarters of its sponsor Telefonica. The event was distributed on social media, and recorded for television broadcast for the first time.

Over the past five years, Eusebio Unzué's team has won nearly 150 races, finished World Number One Team in the WorldTour rankings for the last three years, and achieved podium places in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

The 2015 season saw the team achieve magnificent results once again. Both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde stood on the final podium of the Tour de France; Valverde won the UCI world rankings for the 4th time in his career; Alex Dowsett set a new World Hour record, 21 years after Miguel Indurain; Andrey Amador finished fourth in the Giro d'Italia; and, on top of all this, Movistar won prizes for the Best Team in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

Unzué emphasised the team's hunger for yet more glory in 2016, when the season's goals will again include victory in the Grand Tours and in the leading events of the UCI WorldTour calendar, as well as the overall team ranking for a fourth consecutive season.

“It’s not anything we didn’t do during the last few years, so it’s achievable,” said Unzué. “I’m also excited about the progression of our youngsters, the talent of our two big leaders and the huge team behind us."

The Tour de France remains Quintana’s major objective. “I continue to develop and now, with more responsibility and greater maturity, I aspire to win it,” he said.

“I will start to build my form in San Luis, and then I will ride a number of stage races including the Catalunya and País Vasco, which are important for the team and for my own participation en route to the Tour. Alejandro will help me in the Tour.”

Quintana and Valverde will once again form a formidable two-pronged attack that is the envy of the professional pelotón.

‘Bala-Verde,’ the ‘Green Bullet,’ who turns 36 in April, is much more than just one of the world’s great Grand Tour riders. His is the privilege, unique in the sport’s highest reaches, to be able to compete with the classics  specialists in April, the great stage racers in the summer, with sprinters, rouleurs, youngsters and old-timers, and always with a smile.

“To stand on the podium in Paris was probably the most emotional moment of my career,” said Valverde,  reflecting on his 2015 season.

“The Tour is the Tour: my childhood dream, my greatest ambition, and it finally came true.”

Valverde, who has amassed 90 wins in his fourteen seasons as a professional, is an athlete who has grown and adapted in response to multiple race goals throughout his career, something he will do again in 2016.

“The idea is to race more one-day races in order to reach Rio (for the Olympics), another of my major goals, with fresh legs,” he said.

“Now is the time to give the Giro a try, an ambition for many years, and I would also like to taste the cobbled classics like Flanders.”

Andrey Amador, Alex Dowsett and Australian Rory Sutherland will also remain in the Movistar colours for 2016. New signings to the 27-strong team include Jorge Arcas (Spain), Carlos Betancur (Colombia), Dani Moreno (Spain), Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) and Antonio Pedrero (Spain).