Team Sky loses Spanish climber Mikel Nieve to Australian team Orica-Scott, as the latter look to boost their Grand Tour line-up

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Spanish climbing specialist Mikel Nieve will move from Team Sky to Orica-Scott on a two-year deal starting in 2018.

The 33-year-old has been as a valued mountain domestique for Sky, where he assisted Chris Froome in winning the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Tour de France.

Nieve will join Orica-Scott to strengthen the Australian WorldTour team’s Grand Tour line-up in support of 24-year-old British twin brothers Simon and Adam Yates, and Colombian Esteban Chaves, 27.

In addition to his talents as a rider, Nieve also brings with him a wealth of experience that he can pass on, having ridden in 13 Grand Tours and achieved five top 10 placings.

Mikel Nieve leads Mikel Landa and Chris Froome during stage 12 of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

“I especially know Esteban and the Yates brothers,” Nieve said in a team statement. “Despite being very young, they have a great talent and have achieved important things.”

“I would like to help the team to get more important victories and be part of it. I would like to be in the big races, I would like to be important on mountain stages and being close to those three guys to give them a hand.”

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Having previously been more focussed on stage wins and one-day races, Orica-Scott’s signing of Nieve signals another move towards the team’s Grand Tour aspirations.

Simon Yates finished seventh overall in the 2017 Tour and sixth overall in the 2016 Vuelta a España. Adam Yates was fourth in the 2016 Tour and ninth in the 2017 Giro. Chaves was second in the 2016 Giro and third in the Vuelta in the same year. All results were achieved without any significant team support for the riders during mountain stages.


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Orica-Scott sports director Matt White said: “Signing Nieve is bolstering the armada we are building in backing up our young general classification riders.

“Last year we could add Roman Kreuziger and now Mikel comes with the same level of experience.

“They have both been part of teams that have won the biggest races in the world and he is certainly going to be of great value to our general classification trio.”

In addition to acting as a domestique, Nieve has also taken some notable wins, including a stage and the mountains jersey at the 2016 Giro, a stage of the 2011 Giro and a stage of the 2010 Vuelta.