Movistar Team’s general manager Eusebio Unzué reflected today on his riders’ success in the 2014 Giro d’Italia, the thirteenth three-week stagerace -7 Tours, 3 Giros, 3 Vueltas- the structure has achieved in a long history which now celebrates its 35th anniversary. After wins in France by Delgado (’88), Pereiro (’06) and Induráin’s five (’91 to ’95); the two consecutive triumphs by the Spanish legend in Italy (’92, ’93) and those claimed in the Vuelta by Perico (’89), Olano (’98) and Valverde (’09), Nairo Quintana now joins the list with a spectacular victory in the 97th Corsa Rosa, the first overall success in Grand Tours for the blue Movistar jersey.
“I’m really happy. This is a victory which reasserts the growth of our team, our leaders, all our riders and staff… The commitment the team showed is something to feel really proud of – it also means a lot for a rider who has confirmed his potential and is set to be one of the biggest names in the sport, for many years. It’s been a really long Giro – it actually seems like we departed from Belfast a year ago. So many things have happened since then, so intense… We started the race with sort of a penalty, due to rain holding us up in the TTT; then, the crashes in the first week took really much energy off the team. We struggled for eight, nine days, confident we could bounce back and contest the victory. We got to the top, and in the end of the race, the team was sensational.”
“We did fear Nairo wouldn’t be able to recover from his injuries, and that’s precisely what I’d like to highlight the most about him in this Giro. His recovery abilities, his faith on himself, the belief on getting over all injuries to get well to the last days and get back all time he lost… He went through really critical days as a result of the crash, and afterwards, with those troubles – it was a mixture of allergies and a cold – what I mean is he was able to get through the first mountain days without losing any time, thanks to full team support, and enter the final days with increasing condition. He reached the final rest day almost completely recovered, ready to tackle the crucial stage over the Stelvio and impose his quality, letting the others know he was the strongest man on course. That was another one of those spectacular stages he’s adding to his personal history, always overcoming, becoming a better rider, as he showed in the mountain TT, opening gaps we hadn’t seen for a long time.”
“We stated that the main reason why we brought him to the Giro was to learn and cope with the pressure and responsibility of leading a Grand Tour team, and looking at how these last three weeks went, this experience he gained is even bigger than we could expect. This race will mark his future. The version of Nairo we saw in Belfast has nothing to do with the one we now have here in Trieste. He’s confirmed he’s a true leader, has evolved to impressive levels. He’s got great ability, despite being a young boy, to manage and look after all the riders supporting him. He’s getting to have tranquility he earlier lost in hurry to attack at some points. That’s why I think the decision we took was really wise. And because of this, I want to highlight the importance of Telefónica back in the early season, giving up on having Nairo riding the Tour, with all that meant. I want to thank them for that, because such confidence and patience in that crucial moment allowed for this success to come.”
“We fulfilled the goal of winning this race, and above all, it was a reason of joy for me because they had to take so many risks, work all the time at the front… and they still got all nine to the finale in Trieste. They were all vital at some point. Ventoso, Malori, Gorka and Andrey protected Nairo on flat and mid-mountain stages, keeping him up-front, far from any risks; Jonathan Castroviejo followed him wherever, into alert, so any bike change needed would be solved quickly as he’s quite similar to Nairo’s size. And finally, the climbers, with Capecchi, Antón and Herrada. All of them have proven to be in great condition. They always brought that sense of safety to his mind, and they were conducted perfectly from the team cars by Arrieta and Jaimerena, and helped by a staff of mechanics, carers… which were all terrific.”
TELEFÓNICA and MOVISTAR
“Fortunately, we’re getting quite a palmarès for Movistar. Stage wins in all three Grand Tours, the World Tour title last season, now our first Grand Tour overall victory… So many great sponsors spend a lot of years in cycling and never get to win a Grand Tour. We have extremely talented rosters that made us easier to achieve such great successes, but above all, I would remark that they always behaved well – they honoured the team’s values in as well victory as in defeat.”