Cobo and Intxausti named for Movistar

Cobo and Intxausti named for Movistar
By Eurosport

29/04/2013 at 18:32Updated 29/04/2013 at 18:49

Juan José Cobo is the headline name in the Movistar team for the Giro d'Italia.

The 2011 Vuelta a Espana winner heads the nine-man team that also features British time trial champion Alex Dowsett.

    Cobo will be supported by Benat Intxausti, the Basque rider who won the Vuelta a Asturias and finished 10th overall in the Vuelta a Espana last year. Intxausti could become the protected rider if Cobo - who had a disappointing debut season with Movistar - fails to hit form.

    Spaniards Jose Herrada, Pablo Lastras and Fran Ventoso plus Russia's Vladimir Karpets and Italians Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti complete the line-up.

    Movistar have won two stages in each of the last two years, taking victories in the Corsa Rosa via Francisco Ventoso and Vasil Kiryienka in 2011 and Andrey Amador and Ventoso in 2012.

    Team manager Eusebio Unzue said: “The team's goal is continuing the streak from the last two years, when we got more than one stage victory. Taking one this year would be really good and notching up two can only be considered as superb. I think we're bringing a pretty solid squad, well balanced, with all riders coming in good form and having good chances.

    "For the overall, I rely on Intxausti and Cobo fighting with the top guns and maybe making it into the top 10. It might be just about time for Benat - I think he's ready, he's got the experience and maturity he needs. Last year, he already proved he's able to get there.

    "Cobo's performance is always an unknown, but it's important to know that he's in good condition, so you can expect he might be able to give his best level, like in previous times.

    "Then there are riders like Capecchi [and] Jose Herrada... who come in good form and will get on the move for sure. If you add the solidness and experience from Lastras and Karpets, the good condition of Dowsett and the talent by Ventoso and Visconti, we're going with a strong block.

    "The race route is not really different from last year. The first half of the race is crucial on the mental side - you must not lose time on those mid-mountain stages.

    "The second half has plenty of big climbs: Galibier, Lavaredo, Stelvio and the mountain TT might be crucial for the overall.

    "My race favourite? Of course Wiggins. Also Nibali, with his good form and his knowledge of the race. But I saw Hesjedal building up and getting stronger in the last few days, and I consider him as much favourite as the other two."

    The event starts in Naples on Saturday and is exclusively live in the UK on British Eurosport.