Movistar Team Season Review
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
As every post I start out with the cobbled classics run and I must say that despite having a relatively low set of expectations the team did very well in them, Carlos Barbero rode very strong to finish tenth in Kuurne and twelveth in Gent-Wevelgem, Jasha Sutterlin was ninth in E3 and Alejandro Valverde shone to finish eightth in Flandres.
As for the road classics I have to include Mallorca as a secondary team focus where the team was strong but came without a win, in Milano Sanremo Valverde was there again putting in his consistency finishing seventh and his true goal which were the Ardennes well it didn't go so well, he swallowed a bee in Flèche but still finished eleventh, abandoned Liège in the rough weather but Mikel Landa took up to finish a solid seventh. The spring also allowed a win in Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta with Betancur.
Here is where the team specialized and where they were expected to perform, Anacona won San Juan with a stage win alongside, second places in Valencia and Murcia, in Colombia and Provence came two more stage wins and Valverde took another in UAE alongside a second place overall. Quintana then proceded to finish second in Paris-Nice with a strong and consistent race then fourth in Catalunya and then Landa took seventh in Basque Country.
In the run-up to the Tour Quintana finished ninth in the Dauphiné, Betancur was eightth in Suise and Valverde won Occitaine with a stage win too for his name alongside the National Championships, there were wins too in the Vuelta as Asturias and the Vuelta Aragon from Carapaz and Prades respectively, a win in the one-day race Ordiziako Klasika from Valls, a win in Austria with second overall and a third place in Burgos for Carapaz that ended his strong results for the season.
It was, I'll say, the best run of Grand Tours I've seen from Movistar in a big while, the Giro to start was pure tactical perfection in my opinion, something you probably won't hear from anyone as the norm is to see sloppy tactical work. But in Italy it all fit, despite an early crash putting Carapaz in a bad position overall his and Landa's moves over the Alps were those of pure climbers in the form of their life and the support from mainly Pedrero and Amador was brilliant and most importantly, towing them in the most vital parts, making long-distance attacks work but the climbing was really where Carapaz stood apart and looked in control right until the end.
This was the result of evident superiority in quality, in the Tour it couldn't be repeted due to the lack of that superiority, Landa was sixth, Quintana eightth and Valverde ninth, Quintana took a stage win from a breakaway and the other two were consistent throughout the race and finished in what I think was the best they could do, or very close at least.
And to close them off, in the Vuelta, both Quintana and Valverde managed to take stages and Valverde shone to finish second after a great season but perhaps one lacking the big wins he once had, with Quintana also managing to finish fourth after a race marked by his agressive moves mainly the crosswind stage where he crossed his presence in the Top5.
A tenth place in San Sebastian and Bretagne from Valverde and Prades took a not so good but not a disaster of a start, in Canada the team hovered above the Top15's but nothing special and a big Italian Autumn Classics calendar wrapped up their season, no win from them but quite a lot of near misses with second places in four different races, Amador was in Matteotti and Valverde had a hatrick of runner-up places in GP Bruno Beghelli, Milano-Torino and Lombardia to finish off a strong season.
Wins (WT): 21 (7)
Highlight: Carapaz' Giro win
Best Performer: Alejandro Valverde
Biggest Surprise: -
Negative Surprise: Jurgen Roelandts