Igor Anton has signed with Movistar for next season, the team announced on Tuesday. The Basque rider has spent his entire professional career with Euskaltel-Euskadi but was left without a contract when the team disbanded at the end of the 2013 season.
Anton was reported to have been close to signing with Omega Pharma-QuickStep in August but pulled back from talks when it briefly appeared that Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was about to step in and save the Euskaltel-Euskadi squad.
Alonso and Euskaltel’s negotiations stalled in late September, however, around the same time that Omega Pharma-QuickStep completed its 2014 roster by signing Thomas De Gendt and Jan Bakelants. In recent weeks, Anton revealed that the Colombia team had expressed interest, although manager Claudio Corti denied that he had offered him a contract.
Instead, Anton will line up for Movistar next season after agreeing what Biciciclismo reports is a two-year deal with the team that finished top of the WorldTour standings in 2013.
The 30-year-old has won four stages and twice finished in the top 10 overall at the Vuelta a España and also claimed victory atop the Zoncolan at the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Anton’s arrival will be a significant boost to a squad already laden with climbing talent, including Tour de France king of the mountains Nairo Quintana and Alejando Valverde.
Anton is the fourth former Euskaltel rider to sign for Movistar this winter, after Juan Lobato and Ion and Gorka Igazguirre. Other new arrivals at the team include John Gadret, Adriano Malori and Dayer Quintana, younger brother of Nairo.