British time trial champion Alex Dowsett will make his Tour de France debut having been selected in a strong Movistar squad to support Nairo Quintana.
Dowsett’s selection means he will start the first stage, a time trial in Utrecht on Saturday July 4, in the stripes of British champion before forming a part of Quintana’s support cast for the race.
The former UCI Hour Record holder proved his worth to the team thanks to his efforts at the Route du Sud, and joins the likes of world number one Alejandro Valverde in the Movistar squad for the race.
“It’s the most balanced squad and the one that brought us everything we needed in all terrains”, explained team manager Eusebio Unzué.
“I already stated before the Giro that building the nine-man squad for Italy had already been really difficult, but seeing the names we had left out shows that doing so for the Tour was even harder.”
Colombian ace Winner Anacona, a Vuelta a Espana stage winner with Lampre-Merida last year, and Jose Herrada will support Quintana and Valverde in the mountains, alongside Gorka Izagirre and Jonathan Castroviejo.
Dowsett’s role, meanwhile, will be to set the marshal the peloton on the flat stages alongside the likes of Adriano Malori – another contender for the first stage – and Imanol Erviti.
Unzue added: “We start with riders ascribed to three different roles: a more climbing group, with Winner and José; allrounders like Gorka or Jonathan, useful in all situations; and talented rouleurs like Alex, Adriano or Imanol, who will keeps us calm into the flat stages.
“Our leadership is clear: Nairo is the team’s main reference on the road. However, and knowing how this race works and all the circumstances you can go through during a Tour de France, we can’t rule out Alejandro staying by his side and also keeping his chances alive (which are the whole team’s), until the facts show otherwise.”
Quintana was second at the Route du Sud, his final pre-Tour warm-up race having also enjoyed top-ten finishes at the Tour de Romandie, Tour of the Basque Country and Tour de San Luis.
His biggest result this season, however, was winning Tirreno-Adriatico, which he did so thanks to a stage win on the Terminillo.
Valverde, who was crowned Spanish champion at the weekend, has soared back to the top of the UCI World Rankings meanwhile, courtesy of two wins and a second place in the Ardennes Classics, and three stage wins on his way to second overall at the Volta a Catalunya.Will Alex Dowsett make your Fantasy Tour de France team? Or will Nairo Quintana be leading you to glory? Go to fantasycycling.roadcyclinguk.com for your chance to win great prizes from Science in Sport.
Movistar team for 2015 Tour de France
Nairo Quintana (COL)
Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Alex Dowsett (GBR)
Gorka Izaguirre (ESP)
Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP)
Adriano Malori (ITA)
Imanol Erviti (ESP)
Jose Herrada (ESP)
Winner Anacona (COL)