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Movistar continues to make moves behind the scenes going into 2022.
As first reported in Spanish sports daily AS, longtime sport director José Luis Arrieta is no longer the team’s lead director.
El País confirmed the exit of Arrieta, an ex-pro who was a key associate to former GC captain Nairo Quintana and who led Movistar’s sport director staff starting in 2011.
“It was a very, very hard decision for me personally,” Unzué told El País. “But we had to make a decision thinking about the overall well-being of the team.”
- Miguel Ángel López on Movistar exit
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Ex-pro and former Peter Sagan coach Patxi Vila, who joined Movistar last year, will take the helm of the sport director staff that will include José Vicente García Acosta, Pablo Lastras, José Luis Jaimerena, and Italian Max Sciandri. Arrieta is reportedly challenging his removal in court.
El País also confirmed more details of new staffers for the Spanish WorldTour team, including the arrival of ex-pro Leonardo Piepoli as a trainer and veteran Spanish cycling doctor José Ibarguren Taus.
Movistar officials were not immediately available to confirm the report.
The 50-year-old Piepoli will reportedly join Movistar as one of its trainers, El País reported.
Piepoli served a two-year ban in 2009 for testing positive for CERA-EPO after winning the Hautacam stage in the 2008 Tour de France that effectively ended his career. He was later fired by his then-Saunier Duval team in the wake of seeing the entire team being kicked out of the 2008 Tour that also featured Riccardo Riccò, who also tested positive for CERA during that year’s Tour.
Piepoli has since been training several top WorldTour pros.
El País also reported the arrival of Spanish doctor Ibarguren, who has worked for several teams across the WorldTour for more than two decades, including such teams as Banesto, Lampre, Saunier Duval, Omega Pharma-Lotto, and most recently Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Iván Velasco, a specialist in biomechanics and aerodynamics, also joins Movistar after working with Astana, the paper reported.
The controversial exit of Miguel Ángel López, who angrily left the Vuelta a España on the penultimate stage, is the latest chapter in what’s been a few seasons filled with tumult inside the team.