Cycling’s transfer window opened on August 1 and Movistar has found itself in the center of the action as one of the WorldTour teams with the most valuable support riders at the end of their contracts. While the Spanish team’s most prized assets, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, have contracts that run through to the end of 2017, there are a host of others who are out of contract and weighing up their options for next year.
Key support riders Beñat Intxausti, Gorka and Jon Izagirre and several others are without a deal for next year. Intxausti and the Izagirre brothers have been the subject of transfer speculation at various points over the past few months, and in particular have all been linked with Team Sky.
The team has made one signing so far in 23-year-old Jorge Arcas from the amateur Lizarte squad. It signals a continued investment in youth after last year saw the acquisition of Marc Soler, Rubén Fernández, and Winner Anacona.
Cyclingnews spoke to Spaniards Intxausti and Jon Izagirre in Jaworzno ahead of the start of the fourth stage of the Tour de Pologne. The former had been most strongly linked with a move to Dave Brailsford’s British squad but it has been suggested that those talks have fallen through. It is still likely that the 29-year-old will leave Movistar but, contrary to some rumours, he claims he is still negotiating with Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué.
“In principle my idea is to go to another team. We are talking with various teams but I’ve not yet completely ruled out staying here,” Intxausti said.
“We are still talking and haven’t closed any doors yet. Me and Euesbio still have talking to do.”
There are also numerous teams interested in Izagirre, for whom a major consideration is his eagerness to have more opportunities for to go for overall victories at week-long stage races. If Unzué can ensure those opportunities and put an according offer on the table, then the 26-year-old is well inclined to stay.
“There are other teams interested in me and we’ll have to wait a bit, try and do well in Poland, and see what offers come in,” Izagirre told Cyclingnews.
“But in principle my intention is to stay here at Movistar. We’ve not yet come to any sort of agreement but we are still negotiating – we’ll see if there is a good offer and we can stay here.
“I want to be taken into account in certain races. Every team has a big leader, like Nairo or Valverde. If I ride the Vuelta al País Vasco, Paris-Nice, or the Tour with them, I’d have to work. But I also want to have my own opportunities, like I’ve had this year for example at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse and here in Poland. At the end of the day it’s about making the most of my potential.”
Izagirre explored his Grand Tour potential at this yaer’s Giro d’Italia, where Intxausti won a stage, but nothing good came of it for him. He says he’s still young and wants to concentrate on what he knows he can do well, which are week-long stage races that contain a time trial. He has never won a stage race but has twice been second on GC in Poland and was third at this year’s Vuelta al País Vasco.
Izagirre has also been linked with Sky but it is his brother Gorka upon whom most of the gossip has centred. Jon believes it’s important that he and his brother are teammates but insisted it wouldn’t be a make or break factor when negotiating both their respective future career paths.
“We get on well but if he decides to change teams because he thinks he’d be better off elsewhere, then it’s not crucial that we stay together. It’s better because at the end of the day it’s a companion, a brother is not the same as a teammate. I’d prefer, and he also prefers, to stay together but we also have different points of view and different considerations.”
Cyclingnews also understands that Fran Ventoso has earned himself another one-year extension. The 33-year-old’s contract was not renewed at the end of the 2014 season but after failing to find another option, he spoke with Unzué in November and was handed a deal for 2015.
This time, though, Ventoso, who who has 25 pro wins to his name, hasn’t had to endure the same headache and, after failing to make the final cut for the Tour, will enjoy a less pressurised trip to the Vuelta a España later this month.
“I was discussing it all with Eusebio duing the Tour and there were no problems at all with extending – I’m really happy,” he said.