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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