• Alejandro Valverde (R) and Nairo Quintana (L) will team up for Movistar at the Vuelta a España. (Getty)Source: Getty
Movistar will line up for the start of the 2018 Vuelta a España with two former champions in Nairo Quintana (2016) and Alejandro Valverde (2009).
Cycling Central

21 Aug 2018 - 3:10 PM  UPDATED 21 Aug 2018 - 3:15 PM

The team identified the eight-man squad that will be at at the start of the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España but will ride without the third prong in its trident of general classification contenders, Mikel Landa.

Landa is still struggling with pain after the fractures sustained in a crash in the Clásica San Sebastián, layered on top of the barely healed injuries from another crash at July's Tour de France.

"We've fought the hardest we could during the last 15 days, trying to make sure Mikel could reach a high degree of recovery, but it wasn't possible," Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué said.

"He's gone through good and bad moments during these two weeks, but in the end, and at the time we had to make a choice, he just doesn't have sufficient guarantees to go and take the start of the Vuelta."

SBS will broadcast all stages of the 2018 Vuelta a España.

However, the team will remain a strong contender for the overall victory with Quintana and Valverde headlining a supporting roster completed by Andrey Amador, Winner Anacona, Daniele Bennati, Richard Carapaz, Imanol Erviti and Nelson Oliveira.

The team was criticised for taking three leaders to the Tour in an effort to upend the Team Sky juggernaut. That thinking failed to live up to expectations, producing a solitary stage win with Quintana and an overall victory in the teams classification.

The team clearly attempted to do the same at the Vuelta but Landa's inability to compete may give it more focus with Quintana the clear leader and the veteran Valverde riding as a lieutenant.

That well-established combination along with a strong supporting cast of climbers should land Movistar another podium place in Madrid.

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