Mikel Nieve drops out of WorldTour to return to former team Caja Rural in 2022

The Spanish mountain domestique will be embarking on his 15th professional season

Mikel Nieve
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mikel Nieve is dropping out of the WorldTour and joining second division Spanish team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for the 2022 season. 

Nieve, who has been part of the WorldTour for 13 years, is leaving Australian squad Team BikeExchange to return to the team where he started his racing career as a junior and under 23 rider.

Since leaving Caja Rural, Nieve has gone on to be one of the most sought after mountain domestiques in the world, supporting the likes of Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, both Adam and Simon Yates, and Samuel Sánchez among many others.

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Nieve has also won the mountains jersey at the Giro d'Italia as well as three stages at the Italian Grand Tour and one at the Vuelta a España. A stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné is his only other career win.

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Nieve said: "It will be special to put on the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA jersey again. It is the team where I started learning to be a cyclist, enjoying five very good years of which I keep very good memories. 

"Since then the team has grown, in this time I have been able to be part of other teams, with different languages and cultures, and returning to compete at home feels good."

Nieve was part of the Caja Rural set-up when it was called Club Ciclista Burunda before it was a professional team. Five years were spent at the team as he developed as a rider until he was 22. His biggest win for them was the Memorial Valenciaga in 2007.

Nieve then joined Orbea-Oreka before launching into his WorldTour career with Euskaltel-Euskadi where he stayed for five years, before then venturing on a four-year stint with Team Sky and a five-year spell with Team BikeExchange.

"I want to contribute on the bicycle and also off it, transmit my experiences to the young colleagues and help them in their progression," Nieve said. "On a personal level, I want to enjoy cycling again, since in 2021 I had several falls that prevented things from going well. 

"This new season I face it with great enthusiasm and motivation, all races will be special with this jersey and I want to do my best while enjoying the bike."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.