Francisco Mancebo is leaving 5-Hour Energy-Kenda for a new squad based in the United Arab Emirates, it was announced on Monday.
Mancebo, 37, first joined the RealCyclist.com team at the start of 2011 and stayed with the outfit when it became 5-Hour Energy for this year. He will ride for Skydive Dubai in 2014, a new UCI Pro Continental Europe team. Mancebo’s family is in Spain.
Mancebo won the USA Cycling NRC title the past three seasons.
“To have an accomplished champion like Mancebo as the leader of our team for the past three years was very rewarding,” said Jason Kriel, Managing Partner of On The Rivet Management, which runs 5-Hour Energy. “We wish him the best with his new team in Europe.”
Mancebo was the best young rider at the 2000 Tour de France, finishing ninth overall. He finished fourth in the 2005 Tour. On the eve of the 2006 Tour, Mancebo was pulled from the race by his team at the time, Ag2r Prévoyance, after being implicated in the Operación Puerto doping scandal.
After severing ties with Ag2r, Mancebo returned to the peloton in 2007 with Relax-GAM.
Mancebo’s best finish in a grand tour was a third in the Vuelta a Espana, which he earned in 2004 and 2005. He will race for 5-Hour Energy at two upcoming races in China, the Tour of Taihu Lake (November 2-10) and the Tour of Nanjing (November 12).
5-Hour Energy unveiled its 10-man roster for 2014 and it includes four riders from the 2013 squad: Bobby Sweeting, David Williams, Jim Stemper, and Christian Parrett. Joining the team are Chad Beyer, Jake Keough, Bruno Langlois, Gavin Mannion, Jon Hornbeck, and Sam Bassetti.
“I’m proud of the strong team we have put together for 2014,” said Frankie Andreu, who will return as sport director. “The individual strengths of each one of our riders will allow us to compete for stage wins as well as for the GC. As a team I’m confident that they will work together well.”