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Igor Antón said he’s ready to work for Nairo Quintana in this year’s Giro d’Italia as the Basque climber slips into the Movistar jersey for the 2014 season.
Antón, 30, who was the last rider to sign with Movistar for this season, said he’s content to “change roles” within his new team and will eagerly work for Quintana as the Colombian takes aim at the pink jersey.
“It makes me happy to support Nairo, who is a great rider, if it’s official that he’s going to be there [the Giro],” Antón said in a press release. “I have not problem. The most important thing is to live up to expectations, so I have to adapt, to know how to do this work, above all in the mountains. I expect to be at the level I need to be.”
Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué said it’s still not official that Quintana will race the Giro, but all indications suggest the Colombian will ride to win the Italian grand tour and perhaps skip the Tour de France.
Movistar threw Antón a life jacket very late in the game, offering him a final-hour contract for the 2014-2015 seasons. Euskaltel-Euskadi, which closed shop at the end of 2013, was the only team Antón has ever ridden for.
Antón was one of the last major riders from Euskaltel to secure a deal for this season. Samuel Sánchez, the 2008 Olympic champion, is still holding out hope for a ride.
“It’s been a surprise at how things unfolded, and I have motivation and excitement for the new season,” he continued. “I signed a contract on Tuesday, and I met with the team Wednesday. From one day to the next, I was already packing my suitcase. To take the team photo with another jersey felt a little strange, especially when I looked in the mirror, but I believe it fits me well.”
Antón said his season will center around the Giro, with a debut at the Mallorca Challenge, followed by early season goals at the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Ardennes classics.