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Colombian Nairo Quintana – second twice in the Tour de France and stage winner in 2018 and 2019 – wants to have “100 percent support” from his next team for 2020.
Quintana, 29, confirmed he will leave Team Movistar after eight years and sources say that he is joining Team Arkéa-Samsic, which currently boasts Warren Barguil and André Greipel. Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué has also confirmed Quintana’s imminent departure.
“I’m leaving with good feelings,” Quintana told Blu Radio. “I was a very good period, I arrived very young at the team , they recruited me when I was in a Colombian team and they taught me many things. They supported me. I have so much gratitude for the sponsor.”
Quintana’s comments come as Movistar is undergoing a major makeover. Mikel Landa is already set to join Bahrain-Merida, and Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz is linked to a deal to join Team Ineos. With Quintana’s imminent departure, Movistar has signed Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) too bolster its GC credentials.
Quintana has suggested that his new squad will focus its efforts squarely on him. Movistar often has been accused of racing with too many leaders, taking Quintana, Landa, and Alejandro Valverde to lead the 2018 Tour, for example. Quintana will need to sort out the leadership issue at the upcoming Vuelta a España with Marc Soler, Carapaz, and Valverde also in the race starting August 24.
For Quintana, who has struggled in the Tour over the past three editions, a new start will be welcome.
“That is the idea, to be able to find a team where I feel comfortable, where I am happy and where they can support me 100 percent,” Quintana said. “Where I feel like what I am and that we can shine more than ever.”
Quintana is said to be joining the team and linking back up with his younger brother Dayer Quintana, transferring from Team Neri-Selle Italia. Dayer rode with Movistar from 2014 to 2018. Winner Anacona and Ruben Fernandez, two trusted teammates, are also said to be making the jump from Team Movistar to Arkea-Samsic.
“I want a team where I feel like myself and perform like always,” he said. “The yellow dream is still in my heart.”
Quintana became on overnight sensation when he placed second in his debut in 2013 behind Chris Froome (then Team Sky) and second again to Froome in 2015. Since, he has struggled for various reasons but managed over the a last two editions to win stages – Col du Portet in 2018 and Valloire in 2019.
With Arkea-Samsic, the team would need to ride with a wild card invitation assuming they are not one of the teams to join the WorldTour for 2020. Receiving an invitation should not be a problem as it did in 2019.
In 2019, Egan Bernal (Ineos) became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France at 22 years old. He tipped his hat to Quintana, who looked to be on his way to that title just five years ago.
“This were nice words by Egan,” Quintana said.
“We always talked, not only during the Tour. I was telling to enjoy it and take advantage of the good times. There are good and bad times, and people only remember the good ones; so that you have to take advantage of them,” Quintana explained.
“He has done very well, he has found the best team to support him and so he was brilliant.”
Quintana is still hoping to get his chance at the yellow jersey.