Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is apparently in talks to sign for André Greipel’s Arkéa-Samsic team, according to reports in the French Media.
Daily French newspaper, Ouest France, say that Arkéa-Samsic are taking steps to secure the signature of the Colombian to make the switch from Movistar to the Breton team, adding that talks are already in quite an advanced stage.
Arkéa-Samsic are reported to be planning for a busy transfer market, having already approached Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), although the Frenchman is likely to remain with his Belgian team.
The rumours are given added credence by the fact that Yvon Ledanois, one of the current sports directors at Arkéa-Samsic, was a sports director at Movistar in 2012 when Quintana signed for the Spanish team.
The Colombian’s potential arrival throws into question Warren Barguil’s future at the team, the Frenchman currently struggling with injuries.
Arkéa-Samsic are a pro-continental team, and the signing of Quintana would help them step up efforts to join the WorldTour ranks. Four places at Grand Tours are currently reserved for pro-continental outfits, and as of next year two of the wildcard spots will be decided based on rankings, not just discretionary decisions concerning the history and status of the rider and team.
Nairo Quintana is a two-time Grand Tour winner, claiming the 2014 Giro d’Italia victory and the win in 2o16 at the Vuelta a España. He’s also finished on the Tour de France podium three times but has seen his performances slip in recent years, finishing 12th and 10th in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Speaking in December 2018, Quintana criticised his Movistar team’s recent multi-pronged tactic at the Tour de France, where they have turned up with three potential leaders in world champion Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa and Quintana, saying: “I don’t like that there are three leaders”.
Quintana also said he still dreams of winning the Tour de France, and that he will still keep trying as he believes he can, with the Colombian making minor changes to his 2019 season in preparation for another tilt at winning the Tour de France.