By Jonny Long
Andrey Amador is set to cancel his contract renewal agreement with Movistar and move to Ineos, in a transfer of power likely to influence the outcome of Grand Tours next year.
The Costa Rican played a pivotal role in helping Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz seal the overall victory at the Giro d'Italia for the Spanish squad, the highlight of their 2019 season.
Amador will be put to work for any number of Ineos' Grand Tour contenders, with Tour de France winners Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas to be competing with the returning Chris Froome and new signing Richard Carapaz for team leadership roles at the biggest stage races next year.
Spanish newspaper Marca says the 33-year-old will join Movistar team-mate Carapaz at the British squad in 2020, and is one of a number of riders who are leaving the Spanish outfit at the end of the season. Mikel Landa is on his way to Bahrain-Merida, Nairo Quintana has signed for Arkéa-Samsic alongside Winner Anacona, while Jasha Sütterlin joins Sunweb.
Amador was announced as having renewed with Movistar on July 22, while he was riding the Tour de France, but in an about turn will now race for Ineos until at least 2021. He has ridden for Movistar since 2009, when they operated as Caisse d'Epargne, and even rode for the Spanish squad's development team from as early as 2006.
The departures of some of Movistar's best riders to Ineos has caused a "war" between Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué and agent Giuseppe Acquadro, who has facilitated contract breaks for three riders, paving the way for them to join Ineos. As well as Amador and Carapaz, Acquadro helped Egan Bernal's move to Ineos after riding for Italian team Androni-Giocattoli for only the first two years of his contract. One member of the Movistar team told Marca that they had "become a subsidiary of Ineos".
Journalist and broadcaster Daniel Friebe said that he had spoken to Unzué during the Tour de France, with the Spaniard telling him his working relationship with Acquadro was over for good because of the timing and circumstance of Carapaz's transfer to Ineos.
Coming in to replace the talented riders the Spanish team are losing is Enric Mas from Deceuninck - Quick-Step, a Spanish prospect believed to be capable of winning Grand Tours in the future, as well as Brit Gabriel Cullaigh from Wiggins - Le Col and Dario Cataldo from Astana. Meanwhile, 39-year-old Alejandro Valverde and José Joaquín Rojas have signed extensions that will see them continue with the outfit into 2020.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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