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Last year's runner-up confirmed as squad's GC captain while 10 riders fight for the last 8 spots on the roster

Photo: Sirotti

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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BEÑAT INTXAUSTI

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EROS CAPECCHI

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IMANOL ERVITI

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JAVIER MORENO BAZAN

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JESUS HERRADA

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JOSÉ HERRADA LÓPEZ

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JOSÉ IVAN GUTIERREZ PALACIOS

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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PABLO LASTRAS

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SYLVESTER SZMYD

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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12.08.2013 @ 23:51 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

2009 winner Alejandro Valverde is set to lead Movistar in the Vuelta a Espana which starts in less than two weeks. The Spaniard hopes to improve on last year's second place as he spearheads the team's 11-rider pre-selection for their home grand tour.

 

For the second year in a row, Alejandro Valverde will race the Tour-Vuelta double as he was today selected as the leader of his Movistar team in the Spanish grand tour. Last year he finished 2nd in the three-week race on the back on a disappointing Tour de France which he saved with a late stage win in the Pyrenees.

 

This year he heads into the Vuelta just a month after a frustrating Tour that saw him perform better than ever but ultimately fall out of podium contention due to an untimely puncture on the stage to Saint-Armand-Montrond. With three stage wins, a 2nd place for Nairo Quintana, the mountains jersey and the white jersey, the team had a hugely successful race but the captain himself had hoped for more.

 

He now returns to a happy hunting ground as the Vuelta was the scene of his big breakthrough in 2003 when he finished 3rd in the race. He won the event in 2009, has finished 2nd twice and never finished lower than 5th.

 

10 riders battle for the 8 remaining spots on the roster which will be announced next month when the Eneco Tour has come to an end. Eros Capecchi appears to be all but guaranteed a spot after his strong showing in the Tour de Pologne and is set to be one of Valverde's key mountain domestiques.

 

Benat Intxausti finished in the top 10 in the Giro and won a stage along the way. He has marked out the Vuelta as his major objective in the second half of the season and hopes to repeat last year's performance where he made it into the top 10 while also supporting Valverde. He most recently had a disappointing showing the last week's Vuelta a Burgos.

 

Jose Herrada and Sylwester Szmyd are two other possible options for the mountains. Herrada raced a good Giro and was strong in Burgos last week. On the other hand, Szmyd - knows as one of the strongest domestiques in the peloton - has had a horrible first season as a Movistar rider but finally gave indication of his capabilities in yesterday's queen stage in Burgos. The final climber in the pre-selection is Javier Moreno who finished 2nd overall in the Tour Down Under this year.

 

Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Spanish champion Jesus Herrada, Imanol Erviti, Pablo Lastras and Eloy Teruel are all able to offer support on the flat and medium mountain stages. Gutierrez and Herrada both finished the race in Burgos yesterday while veteran Lastras and possible debutant Teruel started the Eneco Tour today. Erviti was a loyal support rider in the Tour and could race his second grand tour in a row.

 

As expected, Nairo Quintana won't ride the Vuelta and instead the young Colombian will travel to his home country to be celebrated for his achievements in the Tour and prepare for the world championships.

 

Movistar pre-selection for the Vuelta:

Alejandro Valverde, Jesus Herrada, Jose Herrada, Benat Intxausti, Eros Capecchi, Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Imanol Erviti, Sylwester Szmyd, Javier Moreno, Pablo Lastras and Sylwester Szmyd

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