Giro, Vuelta stage winner Anton linked to Dimension Data
Igor Antón, the Basque climber who’s won stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, is linked to a move to Dimension Data for 2016.
The South African-registered team has not confirmed media reports, but Antón told a Spanish newspaper that finalizing a deal is only a question of signing the papers.
“Cycling has given me a lot, and now I have a new challenge, and that’s to race with a foreign team, something I’ve never done before,” Antón told Deia. “I’m just waiting for the finishing touches [to a contract].”
The 32-year-old Antón turned pro with Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2003, and stayed with the team until it folded at the end of the 2013 season. Movistar picked him up for the past two seasons, but he was left hanging without a contract until Dimension Data came calling this month.
“It wasn’t an easy situation,” he said. “I was even looking at retirement. I’m very excited about this new opportunity.”
Things changed when Dimension Data secured its WorldTour license for 2016, meaning the team would be racing all the calendar’s major races, including all three grand tours. The team is stacked with sprinters and classics-type riders, and when the WorldTour license came through, management looked to bolster its roster with more firepower for the stage races.
Antón has started 14 grand tours in his career, including a career-best ninth at the 2012 Vuelta and 17th at the 2011 Giro. He won the Monte Zoncolan stage at the Giro that year along with a stage at the Vuelta — one of four he has won in the Spanish grand tour.
Dimension Data has also picked up Oscar Fraile (Caja Rural), the mountains classification winner from the 2015 Vuelta, and Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) to bolster its depth in the grand tours.
Other new arrivals for 2016 include Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw (Etixx-Quick-Step), Bernhard Eisel (Sky), Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge).
Departures for 2016 include 2013 Milano-Sanremo winner Gerard Ciolek (to Cult Energy), Matt Goss (to One Pro Cycling), Louis Meintjes (to Lampre-Merida), and Andreas Stauff.
Antón is the latest big-time name to secure a ride for 2016. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) is linked to a move to Southeast. A few more remain without a contract for 2016, including Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale), Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty-Gobert), John Gadret (Movistar), and Chris Sutton (Sky).