The confusion surrounding Movistar‘s management hierarchy within the Vuelta a España seems to have been laid to relaxation after Nairo Quintana informed Spanish media that teammate Alejandro Valverde is heading the squad’s bid to win the race for a second time in 4 years.
Each Quintana and Valverde have triumphed within the Vuelta previously, the Colombian in 2016, two years after taking the Giro d’Italia, and Valverde again in 2009.
Initially it appeared that Quintana can be Movistar’s major GC challenger after Valverde informed the AS newspaper final Monday that “Nairo is extra chief than I’m,” and Quintana then gained stage 2 of the race into Calpe from a six-rider breakaway.
Nevertheless, in the identical interview Valverde didn’t rule himself out of the GC battle, and mentioned that he was taking issues on the day-by-day.
And Quintana, while clearly with choices for the general victory – one thing he mentioned in his winner’s press convention on Sunday – has now mentioned that group supervisor Eusebio Unzué has made it clear that Valverde is the chief.
“We had a gathering and Eusebio mentioned that. Alejandro goes very effectively, and we’re going to assist him,” Quintana mentioned after stage six.
Quintana will, apparently, have a free function, and his GC choices are under no circumstances discarded both. As he put it, “I will be free to do what I need and I’ll see what I can do.”
The Colombian’s declarations come after he fell behind Valverde when the Spaniard attacked on the Alto de Javalambre, taking Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana Professional Staff) with him.
For his half, Valverde has tried to minimize any sense of an influence battle between himself and Quintana, arguing after stage six that “individuals invent issues between us and there may be not even one p.c of that, we all know what occurs contained in the group bus.”
Final 12 months, all through the Vuelta, Movistar was troubled by an interminable debate within the media and a seeming lack of readability on the highway as as to if Valverde or Quintana was the stronger of the 2.
On this 12 months’s Tour de France, the place the waters have been muddied even additional by a three-way cut up in GC ambitions between Valverde, Quintana and Mikel Landa, it was an identical story.
Friday’s tough stage end at Mas de la Costa may see an additional clarification of the GC situation in Movistar.
While there was little GC motion within the 2016 Vuelta when the race tackled the brutally steep climb, the 2017 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana noticed Nairo Quintana take a powerful solo victory, managing to place 40 seconds of daylight between himself and his closest rival. Roglič was amongst these defeated, crossing the road in fifth place almost a minute again.