The future is now for Enric Mas. And despite the pressure already being piled on him as the new leader to carry Spanish cycling into the next decade, he’s up for the challenge.
“I am not afraid of the responsibility,” Mas told Marca. “I’ve always said I wanted to take on big challenges, and here I am going to be able to do it.”
Mas, who turns 25 in January, is set to join Movistar on a three-year deal in 2020. Touted as the next big thing within Spanish cycling, the all-rounder finished off the 2019 season with victory at the Gree-Tour of Guangxi.
Movistar is tapping Mas and budding star Marc Soler to help fill the gap left by exits of Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, and Richard Carapaz. Mas emerged as a hot property after riding onto the podium at the 2018 Vuelta a España.
“The main reason to change is that here [at Movistar] I will have big riders to help me in the mountains,” he said. “There were other reasons, but this was without a doubt one of the most important.”
Movistar still counts with Alejandro Valverde, but many will be looking at the largely untested Mas and Soler to step up. Mas rode in support of Julian Alaphilippe at the Tour de France, where he admitted he suffered more than expected. Better now than later, he said, adding that he has not finalized a calendar yet for 2020, but he’s confident he’ll be racing in the top races across the season.
“I am going to work to try to be the new generation of leaders, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “What I can promise is that I am going to give my skin in trying, and later whatever happens happens.”