PARIS – Two-time grand tour winner Nairo Quintana is leaving his Movistar team to join French cycling outfit Arkea Samsic next season.
The 29-year-old Colombian climber won the Giro d’ Italia and the Spanish Vuelta and has been runner-up twice in the Tour de France in his eight seasons with Movistar.
He will join Warren Barguil at Arkea, which has also signed Quintana’s brother, Dayer, along with Diego Rosa and Winner Anacona for next year.
“It’s a turning point in my career. I was looking for a team in which I was going to be happy,” Quintana said on Monday. “My ambitions are the same. Personally, the goal is to fight for victory on the Tour de France.”
Quintana is leading the Spanish Vuelta after nine stages, seeking to repeat his victory in the three-week race in 2016.
But after several successful seasons, Quintana’s performance has slipped as he had to share leadership roles with other riders at Movistar.
For Movistar, Quintana’s departure comes as the team undergoes a major overhaul. Richard Carapaz, the Giro winner this year, has signed with Ineos, while Mikel Landa has left for Bahrain-Merida.
To replace that talent, Movistar has signed 24-year-old Enric Mas, considered to be the rising star in Spanish cycling.