Are these the most loyal riders in cycling?

These riders have never left the team they started with

Loyal riders
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Rider transfers are an integral part of the world of professional cycling, but how common is it to stay at one team for an entire career?

We started pondering the question after a Cycling Weekly Facebook fan asked us exactly that, when commenting on our story about Gertaint Thomas' contract extension with Ineos.

Firstly: Thomas has not spent his whole career at Sky/Ineos, with the Welshman riding for Wiesenhof, Saunier Duval-Prodir and Barloworld before joining the British squad in 2010 where he will, by the end of his new deal, have been for 13-years. 

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However, there are riders who have achieved this feat of loyalty. We aren't going to pretend to have found them all, but here are some very notable examples. 

José Vicente García, 1994 to present with Movistar Team

José Vicente García Acosta

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José Vicente García, otherwise known as Chente, is now a well know sports director with Spanish WorldTour team Movistar. 

But, the 49-year-old Spaniard also spent a very solid 18 years as a rider taking some big wins such as a stage of the Tour de France in 2000 and two stages of the Vuelta a España in 1997 and 2002.

García has now been a sports director with Movistar for 10 years after retiring as a rider in 2011, the year the team first gained the name Movistar. Before then it was Banesto with variations around that, then Illes Balears joined as main sponsor before Caisse d'Epargne took over in 2006.

Thibaut Pinot, 2010 to present with Groupama-FDJ

Thibaut Pinot

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Thibaut Pinot basically is Groupama-FDJ. The 31-year-old Frenchman has been with the team from the very start of his career in 2010, all the way to the present day, with his contract set to run out at the end of 2023.

Pinot has achieved some wonderful successes over his career with the team including a podium at the Tour de France, a Monument Classic in Il Lombardia and four Grand Tour stage wins.

But, in recent years, Pinot has struggled with a recurring back issue that has seen him abandon races like the Vuelta a España and the Giro d'Italia. It looked like the same issue would see him abandon the 2020 Tour, but he battled through and put in some solid breakaway performances along the way.

Amanda Spratt, 2012 to present with Team BikeExchange-Jayco

Amanda Spratt

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Amanda Spratt became pro with the then named Orica-AIS in 2012 and will be entering her 10th year with the team in 2022.

Spratt has seen amazing success in her career including three overall victories at her home race of the Santos Tour Down Under as well as three Australian national titles and a stage of the Giro Donne.

One of the best climbers in the women's peloton the 34-year-old runs out of contract at the end of next season.

Tim Wellens, 2012 to present with Lotto-Soudal

Tim Wellens

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One of the Lotto-Soudal originals. Tim Wellens joined the team a year after Omega Pharma left to join Quick-Step in 2012 under the new name of Lotto-Belisol.

The team was based around the German sprinter Andre Greipel but Wellens also showed himself to be quite a talent, immediately putting in solid rides in races around the world.

Getting his first win in 2014 at the then names Eneco Tour, now Benelux Tour, he began an upward trajectory. Winning the same stage and overall a year later. Since then two stages in the Vuelta and the Giro have come his way as well as the overall at the Tour of Poland.

Diego Ulissi, 2010 to present for UAE Team Emirates

Diego Ulissi

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Diego Ulissi is quite a surprising one - you may be asking 'since when was UAE Team Emirates a team in 2010'? 

Well, you may remember the team of Lampre-Merida/ISD/Farnese Vini, well that outfit morphed into UAE Team Emirates at the start of 2017.

Ulissi has had an incredible career, especially in his home Grand Tour where has taken eight victories as part of his list of 42 career wins. The Italian's success has mostly come from Italy and the surrounding area, but he came close to winning the Tour Down Under in 2014, finishing second with a stage win.

David Moncoutié, 1997 to 2012 for Cofidis

David Moncoutié

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One of the many French breakaway masters. David Moncoutié was a superb climber on his day and often showed this in the Vuelta where he won the mountains jersey four times, as well as achieved four stage wins in those same years.

Along with that, the Cofidis man took two stages at the Tour and the Dauphiné as well as eighth in the Vuelta in 2008.

Moncoutié was with Cofidis as a rider for 16 years in a truly amazing career with his final season coming in 2012 where he once again tried to win the mountains jersey at the Vuelta, eventually finishing 10th.

Luke Rowe, from 2012 to present for Ineos Grenadiers

Luke Rowe

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Luke Rowe is Ineos/Sky through and through. At this point, seeing the Welsh rider sporting the kit of any other team would just be wrong.

Rowe hasn't been one of the big prolific winners for Ineos over the nearly 10 years he's ridden for the team, but he has been vital to their success due to his superb road captaincy ability as well as guiding GC leaders through the peloton during crosswind or high-stress moments.

The 31-year-old has two wins to his name, with one coming in his first pro season at the Tour of Britain in a bunch sprint and the other in 2017 at the Herald Sun Tour where he soloed to the line.

Thomas Voeckler, 2000 to 2017 for Team TotalEnergies

Thomas Voeckler

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The man. The myth. The gurning legend. Thomas Voeckler entertained throughout his career with his swashbuckling style in the breakaways, only really matched now by world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

Voeckler is probably most famous, though, for the 2011 Tour de France. He eventually finished fourth overall after wearing the yellow jersey from stage nine all the way to stage 19 where he lost it to Andy Schleck with Fränk Schleck and eventual winner Cadel Evans also passing him in GC.

He never made it back to that amazing form that saw him and then team-mate Pierre Rolland battle all the way, with Rolland even winning the white jersey for best young rider.

Arnaud Démare, 2011 to present for Groupama-FDJ

Arnaud Démare

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One of the most successful French riders in the modern era of the sport, Démare has spent his entire 10 year career with Groupama-FDJ in its various slightly different guises; he is contracted until 2023 at the moment.

It was a split decision back in the winter of 2014, between Démare and Nacer Bouhanni, with the latter leaving for Cofidis - but it could've easily been the other way around. 

Démare has been on and off with his form over the years; 2020 was by far his most successful season with the former French champion winning four stages of the Giro along with the points classification and 10 other victories that year. 

He has achieved an excellent 84 wins over his 10 years as a professional.

Imanol Erviti, 2005 to present for Movistar Team

Imanol Erviti

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Similar to the likes of Luke Rowe, Imanol Erviti may not be a big winner for Movistar Team, but the Spaniard has had a brilliant career.

Erviti is mainly a key rider on the flat for the many GC leaders that Movistar have had over the years, but he is also a solid rider for the Cobbled Classics. The Spanish rider managed an epic ninth place at Paris-Roubaix in 2016, from the breakaway.

Erviti has also managed to win two stages of the Vuelta as well as the one day race Vuelta Ciclista A La Rioja around Logroño in 2011.

Any you would add? 

There is a very long list of riders who have stayed with their team throughout their career, we couldn't list all of them, or we'd be typing well into 2022. Are there any key riders you'd add? 

And just to pre-empt the obvious: riders like Alejandro Valverde, Alexey Lutsenko and Luke Durbridge did ride for continental level teams before finding their respective long-term homes (even if these were official feeder teams, it doesn't count).

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