Vuelta a Espana winner Nairo Quintana has extended with Movistar Team until 2019. The 26-year-old Colombian, will therefore remain with the squad which he joined in 2012, and with which he has won two of cycling's three Grand Tours, as well as finishing three times on the podium of the Tour de France.
Movistar also confirmed on Monday, in the same press conference at the company headquarters in Madrid, that they will continue to sponsor the cycling team for a further three years.
It was also announced that Alejandro Valverde's contract, already in place up until 2017 - like Quintana - is very close to being renewed. Valverde, present in the press conference with Quintana and team manager Eusebio Unzue, is ready to continue racing, he said recently, until he is 39.
"We've got the best team in the world at the moment," Carlos López Blanco, Head of Public and Regulation Affairs for Telefónica, said during the press conference. "The sporting results can hardly be better; our brand exposure and positioning are excellent all over the world, especially in Spain and Latin America, essential markets for Telefónica; and above everything else, this team represents bond and friendliness like no other. Our progression on digital media has been constant all over these six years, and as with all previous aspects, makes us satisfied and proud to have joined our name to cycling in this team. Enjoying results like this Vuelta win by Nairo Quintana is sensational. We've got tremendous confidence on the future of the team and our collaboration with them."
The news means that cycling's longest standing team structure, formed in 1980 as the Reynolds squad, will continue well into its fourth decade of existence. It also means that Spain, still suffering from a drastic drop in cycling sponsorship in general, retains at least one WorldTour team and that Movistar, having started backing the team in 2011, will continue in cycling for another three years.
Less than 24 hours before, Movistar had celebrated their first victory in the Vuelta a Espana, Spain's home race, with Quintana. The Colombian beat GC rival Chris Froome (Team Sky) by 1:23 with his compatriot Esteban Chaves claiming the final spot on the podium. The win was the first for the team, then backed by French bank Caisse d'Epargne, since Valverde's in 2009.
The squad is currently leading the WorldTour rankings and Quintana has now moved into the leader's spot in the individual World Tour classification. Movistar has won the WorldTour team classification each year since 2013 and the individual competition over the past two seasons with Valverde. Only one round of the WorldTour calendar remained with Il Lombardia on October 1.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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