By Jonny Long
In what has been the worst kept secret in cycling for a while now, Nairo Quintana has officially signed for Pro-Continental team Arkéa-Samsic.
The Colombian will leave Movistar at the end of the 2019 season, having spent eight years at the Spanish team, the first and only WorldTour outfit he has raced for.
Alongside the Quintana announcement, Arkéa-Samsic also revealed they have signed three other riders. Quintana's younger brother Dayer will move across from Pro-Continental team Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, as will Movistar team-mate Winner Anacona and Ineos' Diego Rosa.
During his time at Movistar, Quintana won the Giro d'Italia in 2014 and the Vuelta a España in 2016. He also finished runner-up in the Tour de France twice in 2013 and 2015.
Arkéa-Samsic have said that Quintana will act as a team leader alongside Warren Barguil, the French national road race champion.
General manager of Arkéa-Samsic, Emmanuel Hubert, said the team will now target winning a Grand Tour within three seasons, and that they now have the squad to rival the best WorldTour outfits.
"On paper, our 2020 team, composed of 28 riders, will have nothing to envy to the best teams of the World Tour. We give ourselves three seasons to make the project a reality by winning a Grand Tour," he said.
"The alliance between Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil must be an added strength for them. They must use one another to progress. Nairo Quintana won the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain and has three podiums in the Tour de France. I am also convinced that Warren Barguil has the ability to shine in the overall standings and it is on this path that we want to bring him."
Hubert added that the team also has plans to strengthen its sprinting quality, saying another signing will be announced in mid-September.
For the 2020 season two more teams will be added to the WorldTour roster and Arkéa-Samsic making these signings is a clear indication of their ambition to step up to the top tier of professional cycling.
Nairo Quintana has said that his goal will still be to win the Tour de France, the only Grand Tour victory missing from his palmarès. "My ambitions remain the same. Personally and collectively, the goal is to fight to win the Tour de France. It's a turning point in my career , but it's a positive turning point, I'm sure.
"We will have to get used to certain things, to have some notions of French but especially I will continue to do what I like! When I'm on my bike I'm happy. Together we will do what we do best wearing the Arkea-Samsic jersey."
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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