Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué says Richard Carapaz and Nairo Quintana will leave the team at the end of the season, but is still unsure over the future of Mikel Landa.
Ecuadorian Carapaz, who won the 2019 Giro d’Italia in June, has reportedly signed a deal with Team Ineos from 2020, while Colombian Quintana, winner of the Giro, the Vuelta a España and a three-time Tour de France podium finisher, will likely join French team Arkéa-Samsic next year.
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Landa, whose contract with Movistar ends this season, has been strongly linked to Bahrain-Merida for 2020 as they look set to lose Vincenzo Nibali to Trek-Segafredo. Unzué however says he still doesn’t know where Landa will end up next season.
“It’s true that it seems that Carapaz and Nairo [leaving] is a reality and that of Mikel… at least I have not heard that he has signed [with anyone else],” Unzué told Spanish radio show El Larguero.
“We would like to continue counting on him. Both sides are looking forward to continuing and if so, things are made easier. But for now I can’t say anything else. “
Movistar, despite their wealth in climbing talent with Landa and Quintana alongside world champion Alejandro Valverde, have struggled to make an impact on the Tour de France GC in recent seasons.
This year the Spanish team went in with a two-pronged attack in Quintana and Landa. Initially, Landa looked to be the worst off after losing time following a crash in the chaotic crosswind stage 10 Albi, but Quintana’s capitulation on the Col du Tourmalet stage after his team had set the pace on the lower slopes of the summit finish means Landa is now best placed for a podium finish. The Basque rider sits in seventh place at 4-54 to race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), and just six seconds ahead of team-mate Valverde in eighth overall.
With 39-year-old Valverde signing on to stay with the team until 2021, the team will be looking to rebuild following the departure of their biggest stars.
One rider who could join the team is Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Enric Mas, who is out of contract at the end of the 2019 season. Spaniard Mas is currently riding the Tour de France, where he’ll now look to support Alaphilippe in yellow after he unexpectedly lost over 31 minutes on Sunday’s stage 15.
Mas’s future is still uncertain with Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere keen to keep him on board after he finished second and took a stage win at the Vuelta a España last year.
On the Tour’s rest day, Unzué also confirmed that Movistar had offered a contract to the highly rated 23-year-old. According to UCI rules, team’s are unable to confirm signings for the following season until August 1.
“It’s not possible to say if Enric Mas will ride with us next year,” Unzué said. “Like many teams we aim to have him among us. There are few days left before the teams can officially communicate the future of some riders and then we’ll know if he comes with us or where he goes. He has an offer and I hope he decides well.”