With the wealth of talent that Team Sky has signed up for 2016, one that has gone slightly more under the radar is that of Movistar’s Beñat Intxausti.
The Spaniard enjoyed success as a team leader in short stage races in 2015, as well as performing a key role and winning a stage at the Giro d’Italia in May.
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His ability in the week-long races, shown by third at the Ruta del Sol and fourth at the Criterium du Dauphiné, could see him take on some of Richie Porte’s early-season workload and with Mikel Landa now on board, Intxausti could again play the role of super-domestique at the Giro.
And in an interview with Biciciclismo, the 29-year-old said the opportunity to join the British team was too good to turn down.
“Sky is a reference and it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” he said. “It means starting a new chapter and changing to a team that I’ve always liked for how it works. It’s perfect.”
Intxausti also referenced Sky’s Spanish coach Xabier Artetxe as another factor in his move, having worked with ‘Xavi’ since he was an amateur.
While he leaves behind a successful Movistar team, with who he spent five years racing, Intxausti says the friendships he made there will not be affected by his move to Sky.
“[Igor] Anton, [Jonathan] Castroviejo, the Izaguirre brothers [Ion and Gorka]…we will still have the same friendship, which is important, because that is something that will last forever, but now we will be rivals in the races,” he added.
Intxausti joins fellow new boys Michal Kwiatkowski, Landa, Michal Golas, Alex Peters, Danny Van Poppel and Gianni Moscon at Team Sky for the 2016 season.