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Arkéa-Samsic confirm what we already knew, the signing of Nairo Quintana

George Smith
2 Sep 2019

After eight years the Colombian departs Movistar, his only WorldTour team

Arkea-Samsic have finally confirmed that Nairo Quintana will join the French ProContinental team on a three-year deal, in what has been cycling’s worst kept secret this summer.

Rumours of the impending transfer broke months ago, with even the rider’s own father confirming the news to Colombian radio weeks ago during the Tour de France.

It means that Quintana, who has spent eight relatively successful years at Movistar, will likely have only ridden for one WorldTour team during his career unless Arkea-Samsic can realise their ambition of joining the top level of professional cycling.

'On paper, our 2020 team, composed of 28 riders, will have nothing to envy of the best teams of the WorldTour. We give ourselves three seasons to make the project a reality by winning a Grand Tour,' said Emmanuel Hubert, the team’s general manager.

The switch will see Quintana become the team's General Classification joint-leader with current French National Champion Warren Barguil, as Hubert’s outfit look to win a Grand Tour within the next three years.

'The alliance between Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil must be an added strength for them. They must use one another to progress,' he continued.

'Around our two leaders, we want to form a strong group of climbers. I think that links created during training are the strength of a competition team.'

Part of that plan involves the other signings announced today by Arkea-Samsic, with Diego Rosa (Team Ineos), Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Nairo's brother Dayer Quintana (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM) also joining for the 2020 season.

The younger Quintana, Dayer, has not had anything like the success of his Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana winning brother, with his few top 10 placings coming only in races classified by the UCI as 2.1.

'I am very happy to join the Arkea-Samsic team for next season. I arrive with a huge desire,' Dayer said. 'There will be a time of adaptation but it will be short, we believe a lot in this project and especially we want to make it succeed.'

While Dayer joining his brother is not unprecedented in elite cycling - just look at Peter and Juraj Sagan (both Bora-Hansgrohe) - Nairo's reach seems to have helped his new team in their signing of Anacona too.

'Nairo came to talk to me during the season, he told me: "We have the opportunity to ride for Arkea-Samsic the next few years, to continue to advance the team, to bring our experience and to take up a challenge, what do you think?" It seduced me, I am attracted by the challenges,' said Anacona.