Former Ag2r La Mondiale rider Carlos Betancur, winner of the 2014 Paris-Nice, will ride for Movistar in 2016
The 26-year-old burst onto the WorldTour scene in his first year with Ag2r La Mondiale in 2013 – finishing fifth overall at the Giro d’Italia and claiming top-five placings at Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
But after winning Paris-Nice in 2014 his career went a bit off the rails. After a training block back home in Colombia, Betancur missed his flight back to Europe for the Tour de France and was therefore left out of the squad.
When he did report back to the French team he was overweight and struggled to the end of the season. An unimpressive start to 2015 looked to end after several good performances in the breakaway at the Giro d’Italia, but it proved shortlived as he was released from his contract in August – having not raced since the Italian race.
A move to Movistar should see Betancur surrounded by some supportive figures, who – importantly – speak his native language.
The Spanish team boasts three Colombians – Nairo and Dayer Quintana and Winner Anacona – as well as a host of other Spanish speakers, whereas at Ag2r, Betancur was the only native Spanish speaker.
Should Betancur rediscover his love for racing and the form that saw him touted as a future Grand Tour winner he could fill the shoes of the departing Beñat Intxausti as a leader for short stage races and key domestique for the Grand Tours.
And at just 26, Betancur still has more than enough time to mature into a Grand Tour leader in his own right.