Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana will not be at the Tour de France after the Colombian was not named as part of Movistar’s 13-man pre-selection – but British time trial champion Alex Dowsett could make his debut in the race.
With the 24-year-old Quintana now taking a break from racing following his Giro triumph, the Spanish team, last year’s number one WorldTour squad, will be led as expected by Alejandro Valverde.
Quintana, who finished second in last year’s Tour and was also crowned King of the Mountains and best young rider, was not expected to be part of the squad, with the Giro and Vuelta his targets for the season.
Instead, battling with Dowsett for a place in Eusebio Unzué’s final nine-man squad are several key climbing domestiques.
Tour of Beijing winner Benat Intxausti, Juan Jose Lobato, Jesus Herrada and Ion Izaguirre – whose brother Gorka rode so well for Quintana in Italy – are all among the Spaniards on the 13-man shortlist.
Ivan Gutierrez, Ruben Plaza, Imanol Erviti and Jose Joaquin Rojas, meanwhile, are included from the squad which helped Quintana to second last time out.
Frenchman John Gadret, Poland’s Sylwester Szmyd and Italian Giovanni Visconti complete the list, which will be whittled down to nine riders after the Tour de Suisse, Route du Sud and forthcoming national road races are completed.