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Valverde spearheads team in the French Alps while Rui Costa aims to defend his title in the biggest Swiss stage race of the year

Photo: Sirotti

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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ANDREY AMADOR

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ANGEL MADRAZO

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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ENRIQUE SANZ UNZUE

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EROS CAPECCHI

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GIOVANNI VISCONTI

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IMANOL ERVITI

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JESUS HERRADA

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JONATHAN CASTROVIEJO

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JOSE JOAQUIN ROJAS GIL

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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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RUI ALBERTO FARIA DA COSTA

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SYLVESTER SZMYD

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TOUR DE SUISSE

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VLADIMIR KARPETS

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30.05.2013 @ 11:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Arguably the most successful team in the Giro d'Italia, Movistar has set it sight on new targets. In the coming weeks, Alejandro Valverde will try to take his third win in the Criterium du Dauphine while Rui Costa will try to defend his 2012 victory in the Tour de Suisse - both also using the events as key preparation for the Tour de France.

 

Movistar had an outstanding Tour de France and few had expected the team to leave Italy with 4 stage wins, an overall 8th place and one day in the maglia rosa in their pockets. However, the team does not rest on the laurels and has already targeted success in the next grand tour, the Tour de France.

 

Alejandro Valverde is the team's designated captain for the world's biggest race and hopes to go better than last year where crashes took him out of GC contention before he bounced back with a formidable stage win in the mountain stage to Peyragudes. Having used the Tour de Suisse as his final preparation event last year, he is back to his traditional schedule this season and will line up in the Criterium du Dauphine to put the final touches to his condition.

 

The Spaniard has a formidable record in the mountainous event. In 2008 he took the overall victory before going on to finishing 9th in the Tour and in 2009 he repeated the performance in the Alps. That year he was, however, not allowed to race the Tour de France as his involvement in the Operacion Puerto had seen him getting banned from racing in Italy and so he had to skip his main season target which passed through Italy that year.

 

In 2010 and 2011 his worldwide suspension forced him to miss the Dauphiné and after having favoured the Tour de Suisse this year, he is now back in the event for the first time since his back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009. He will found the mountainous route to his liking but will find it hard to take a third win due to the 32,5km completely flat time trial in stage 4.

 

He will be supported by one of the world's most renowned mountain domestiques Sylwester Szmyd who has had a quiet start to his first season at the Spanish squad. However, the Tour de France is his primary target and we could expect to see the Pole show off some of the climbing strength that has served Basso formidably in the past.

 

Eros Capecchi and Jose Herrada climed strongly towards the end of the Giro and aim to put that form to good use in the French Alps while Angel Madrazo, Imanol Erviti, Eloy Teruel and Jonathan Castroviejo round out the line-up. The latter will try to challenge world champion Tony Martin for the win in the time trial.

 

Costa aims to defend Suisse title

While Valverde and co. enter the crucial final weekend in France, another part of the Movistar squad will start the Tour de Suisse, the other big preparation event for the Tour de France. Last year Rui Costa took his biggest ever win when he used an early stage win in Verbier to propel himself into the race lead which he defended all the way to the finish. He has had a strong spring season, finishing 3rd in the Tour de Romandie after having been forced out of the Paris-Nice due to a crash, and said at the conclusion of the Romandie race that he hoped to repeat his win in the other big Swiss stage race.

 

He will be supported by another former winner of the event, Vladimir Karpets, who comes straight from the Giro d'Italia where he climbed solidly but was a rather anonymous domestiue. An in-form Giovanni Visconti - winner of two stages in the Giro - will try to show off that phenomenal condition in the many lumpy finales while Andrey Amador will be another key support rider for Costa. The team is rounded out by reliable domestiques Jose Ivan Gutierrez and Jesus Herrada and sprinters Jose Joaquin Rojas and Enrique Sanz.

 

The Criterium du Dauphine starts on Sunday with a road stage starting and finishing in the Swiss city of Champery while the Tour de Suisse starts June 8 with a 8,1km prologue in Ticiono's Quinto.

 

Movistar for the Criterium du Dauphiné

Alejandro Valverde, Jose Herrada, Eros Capecchi, Sylwester Szmyd, Eloy Teruel, Jonathan Castroviejo, Imanol Erviti and Angel Madrazo

 

Movistar for the Tour de Suisse

Rui Costa, Vladimir Karpets, Giovanni Visconti, Jesus Herrada, Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Andrey Amador and Enrique Sanz

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