• The ageless Alejandro Valverde will use his experience in support of Nairio Quintana. (Getty)Source: Getty
Alejandro Valverde and Movistar head into the Tour de France with a single task, placing point man Nairo Quintana on the top step of the Paris podium.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Movistar Team
25 Jun 2017 - 9:49 AM 

Movistar, along with Team Sky and BMC will be a team to watch in the General Classification (GC) battle, with all three sharing a singular purpose in support of their team leaders, Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome and Australian Richie Porte.

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Valverde, though without a Tour de France title to his name, is perhaps still the best rider of his generation, after building a winning career palmares spanning the full range of racing types on offer.

And despite his competitive fires still burning as brightly as when he first started racing professionally in 2002, the 37-year-old now seems content to take a back seat to Quintana, a decade younger, and now reaching his prime years.

"We'll be backing Nairo 100 per cent, Valverde said. "Anything that happens after that on the road is something we can't really plan on." 

Tactically, Valverde will be an important card to play for Movistar, either in defence or offence, with both options designed to place pressure on Movistar's rivals.

"Obviously, I can't lose much time on the GC because it serves our team's strategical interest," he said. "If things go right and we both remain up there in the overall standings, our rivals will have to take precautions against both of us, which might turn out to be good for the team."

The wily Valverde assesses all of the General Classification riders as evenly balanced but singled out Porte as "a bit stronger than the rest', though with a few caveats.

"At this very moment, it seems like Richie Porte is a bit stronger than the rest, but in a 21-day event, everything can change a thousand times.

"Froome has shown his quality during the past few years, and with his previous wins in the race, we must consider him the strongest favourite, even if it's true that he hasn't shown to be as superior to the rest as he did in the past.

"Also Alberto [Contador], who knows how to approach the race in full condition. [Romain] Bardet, who finished second last season.

"I think all favourites are pretty much close, and that should make for an open race, exciting for the fans."

The Movistar’s nine-man squad for the 2017 Tour de France will be revealed next week.