Nairo Quintana’s team Arkéa-Samsic miss out on Giro d’Italia

The Colombian star was considering a return to Italy

Nairo Quintana and Conor Swift at the 2020 Tour de France (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nairo Quintana’s team will have to redraw their 2021 schedule after being left out of this year’s Giro d’Italia. 

The organisers of the Italian Grand Tour have officially announced all of the teams that will be competing in the 104th edition in May, with Quintana’s Arkéa-Samsic squad not included on the list. 

Instead, Alpecin-Fenix have qualified to race in Italy by being the best-ranked UCI ProTeam, while wild card invitations have been extended to three Italian squads - Bardiani CSF Faizane, Eolo-Kometa and Vin Zabu. 

Quintana, winner of the 2014 Giro, hinted that he might be considering racing in Italy again this year, having competed there twice already. 

The 31-year-old previously told “We’re waiting for them to give us the okay. We hope we can have it, because it’s a race I’ve really enjoyed.

“I’ve done it twice. I was first once and second the other time. It’s a race that’s quite favourable for me.” 

Quintana stepped down from the WorldTour at the end of 2019, leaving Movistar to join second-tier squad Arkéa-Samsic. 

The decision to leave the WorldTour means Quintana now relies on invitations from race organisers to the biggest races or must qualify for a place with his team.

French outfit Arkéa are not the only team to miss out on a Giro spot, as Italian team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec were also left off the invitations list, much to the disappointment of team boss Gianni Savio. 

Ineos Grenadiers, guaranteed a spot as a WorldTour team, have announced that their Colombian star Egan Bernal will target the Giro d’Italia this year, after he was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France due to back problems in 2020. 

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Sir Dave Brailsford, team principal at Ineos Grenadiers, said he believes Bernal need to rediscover his love of racing, suggesting the 24-year-old may have become too focused on results. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.