After eight years with Movistar, Nairo Quintana is set to move on at the end of the 2019 season.
After rumours that the Colombian was set to move away from the Spanish team in 2020, Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué confirmed Quintana’s departure towards end of the Tour de France.
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The 29-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to French Pro-Continental outfit Arkéa-Samsic, currently home to André Greipel and Warren Barguil, although no deal has been confirmed yet.
The acquisition of Quintana may also be followed by Nacer Bouhanni from Cofidis, as a number of Pro-Continental teams look to compete to fill the two additional spots opening up in the WorldTour ranks next season. Arkéa-Samsic have also been subject to speculation they will combine with Katusha to attain a spot on the WorldTour, although this has been rubbished by management at the French team.
Speaking to Colombian radio station Blu Radio, Quintana said his upcoming move will be a positive one and that he has many years of competing in the top races in the world ahead of him.
Quintana finished eighth in this year’s Tour de France, largely thanks to a stunning attack that saw him win the Alpine Galibier stage and claw back time in the overall classification.
However, Movistar’s tactics seemed to leave much to be desired once again, as they finished with Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde also in the top 10 but without troubling the podium places.
“I leave with good feelings, it was a team in which I did very well,” said Quintana. “I arrived very young and they taught me many things, they always supported me.”
Next up for the Colombian is the Vuelta a España, which he won in 2016, racing alongside world champion Valverde as well as Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz, who is also set to leave the team at the end of the season.
Quintana says his dream is to find a team where he is comfortable and feels the complete support of the squad.
Despite proclaiming himself Movistar’s leader for the Tour de France, there were a number of confusing episodes within the ranks of the Spanish squad during the race, when Movistar took the race to the peloton on the Tourmalet stage as Quintana lost three minutes and saw his GC hopes crumble.
At 29 years old, Quintana still dreams of winning the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, where he has previously finished runner-up twice, to compliment his previous victories at the Vuelta and Giro d’Italia.
“I want a team where I feel like what I am,” Quintana said. “May it shine as we have always done. The yellow dream is still in the heart.”