MARBELLA, Spain (VN) — Colombian Carlos Betancur and French team AG2R La Mondiale broke off their contract Friday after a rocky run.
After three years in the team’s brown and white colors, Betancur’s last race with the team, the Tour of Poland, was marked by a DNS in stage 1.
“I would like to thank the Ag2r La Mondiale team for its professionalism, trust, and support over the course of the past three seasons, during which I have experienced some fantastic sporting moments,” the 25-year-old said in a team statement.
“We have reached the conclusion that I need to make a change in order to pursue my career, and I am happy that we’ve been able to reach an agreement so that I can get a new start for another team.”
The team’s general manager, Vincent Lavenu, added,“After several months during which we have been unable to find a solution to help Carlos Betancur reach the same level of performance that allowed him to win Paris-Nice in 2014, we have decided, in agreement with the rider, to end our partnership.
“We come away with the memory of an endearing young man and a top-level rider whom we wish a successful future career.”
Betancur said in a separate statement that the two terminated the contract Thursday “by mutual agreement.”
He will not race for the remainder of 2015 and try to bounce back with a new team in 2016.
The press statements failed to mention the these moments between the rider and French manager.
After Betancur won the Paris-Nice stage race in 2014, he was due to race Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France, but missed his flight from Colombia. He complained that he felt sick, but failed to tell the team before the missed flight. An already complicated French visa process worsened and Betancur missed nearly four months of racing.
When Ag2r signed him from Acqua & Sapone, the hope was that he would develop alongside other top Colombians such as Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Urán, and Sergio Henao. He placed fifth in the 2013 Giro d’Italia and won the white jersey of best young rider. He scored third place in La Flèche Wallonne and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013, as well.
After 2014’s Paris-Nice win, the results dried up. This year, Betancur’s best result was second place in the rain-soaked Giro d’Italia stage to Imola won by Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).
“Betancur is special. I don’t know if other Colombians are as complicated as mine,” Lavenu told VeloNews last June. “One of the hardest things with Carlos is that he’s attached to his home and he always wants to go home early to stay as long as possible. Staying in Europe has always been difficult for him. We communicate a lot with him but don’t get much in return. That’s very frustrating.”