ANALYSIS: Will Movistar Team take Oier Lazkano to the Tour de France or will he be "punished" like Carlos Verona?

At the Criterium du Dauphine, Movistar Team is looking for great results with Oier Lazkano to come out of the race prolonging his good form. Looking ahead to the Tour de France, doubts arise as to whether or not the Spanish team will finally decide to take their national champion to the race. Will a case similar to that of Carlos Verona happen again?

Ciclismoaldia took an in depth look at the situation. In 2023, Movistar Team decided not to take Verona to the Tour de France supposedly because of a physical problem, but it coincided that it also became known that the current Lidl-Trek rider was not going to renew with the team of his native country, rejecting the offer that had been presented to him. It is inevitable that the scenario with Lazkano is similar, as the 24-year-old Basque rider will leave Movistar at the end of the current season after agreeing to join the super project of Red Bull and BORA - hansgrohe.

Last year, Carlos Verona understood that, in case of doubt, Movistar Team was going to bet on taking a rider who was going to continue in the long term future with them for the grand tours. For the moment, the preliminary list of participants does not show Oier Lazkano among the riders who will go to the Tour de France, which in the absence of the announcement of the Movistar team are Alex Aranburu, Rémi Cavagna, Davide Formolo, Gregor Mühlberger, Nelson Oliveira and Enric Mas as team leader for the general classification.

The particular case of Oier Lazkano, however, and taking into account Movistar Team's aforementioned need for UCI points, is that the Spanish rider can be very important in a 2024 Tour de France whose route is very favorable to his abilities. This year's Grande Boucle will feature many mountain and mid-mountain stages in which Lazkano can get into the breakaways, exercising a role similar to that of Pelayo Sanchez in the Giro d'Italia, but with an obvious higher level without detracting from the performance of the Asturian, who was Movistar's best rider throughout the Corsa Rosa.

There is also the factor of Alex Aranburu. The rider will also leave Movistar Team at the end of the season, although he is on the preliminary list for the Tour. But it is also true that it has not been leaked that Movistar Team has been as interested in renewing him as it was with Oier Lazkano, of whom it was said that Movistar moved its upper echelons to raise as much money as possible to match BORA's offer. Maybe the Spanish team's plan is to take only one rider with Aranburu's profile, to compete in the stages, and all the rest as a support rider to bet on Enric Mas.

But, in the end, Movistar Team is not in such a comfortable situation as to waste a talent like Oier Lazkano and not take him to the Tour de France, even if he leaves the squad at the end of the season. The 24-year-old rider is very strong, and has achieved good results to deserve his presence in the grand tour. Without going any further, at the time of writing this article he is one of the main aspirations in the Criterium du Dauphiné. He took 5th place on stage 2 in a sprint with the overall favorites, and would undoubtedly be a major asset for the telephone team in the Grande Boucle. He also won the Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior earlier in the year and had a very notable performance in the cobbled classics, battling at times against the invincible Mathieu van der Poel in the E3 Saxo Classic and the Tour of Flanders.

But will Movistar Team make a decision similar to that of Carlos Verona in 2023, or will it nevertheless show greater ambition than in the Giro d'Italia, with Pelayo Sanchez and Nairo Quintana as stagehunters, leading a team with Lazkano capable of competing for victories on any mountain day?

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