Movistar signs Enric Mas to bolster its GC ambitions

With three of its star riders expected to leave, Movistar signed budding Spanish star Enric Mas in a bid to shore up its GC front line.

Movistar is shoring up its GC prospects and signed talented Spanish climber Enric Mas on a three-year deal, the team confirmed Thursday.

As anticipated, Mas, 24, moves across from Deceuninck-Quick-Step to bolster the Spanish team’s ambitions in grand tours. The highly touted Mas, who finished second overall in last year’s Vuelta a España, is hailed by many as Spain’s next grand tour contender. Even Alberto Contador called him his heir in the Spanish GC hierarchy.

Mas raced in the Tour de France last month for the first time. Though his own GC ambitions withered, he played a key role in helping to keep teammate Julian Alaphilippe in the yellow jersey for the better part of two weeks. Mas is not expected to race the Vuelta.

With Mas coming in to join compatriot Marc Soler, Movistar is hoping its bet on young Spanish riders will pay off. Both Mas and Soler are considered the future of Spanish grand tour racing.

Mas’s arrival will help fill a looming void at Movistar. Mikel Landa has already confirmed his departure to Bahrain-Merida. Nairo Quintana and Richard Carapaz, the reigning Giro d’Italia champion, are both also expected to leave, with Quintana linked to a deal to join Arkéa-Samsic, and Carapaz to Team Ineos.

The announcement comes three days after the Spanish team revealed that up-and-coming British sprinter Gabriel Cullaigh had joined from Team Wiggins.