Having retired from professional cycling in late-2014, reportedly reneging on a contract with his Belkin team earlier that year, Juan Manuel Garate will make a return to the sport next season as a sports director with the Cannondale-Garmin team according to a report by Biciciclismo. Garate's last race was the 2013 Vuelta a España in which he finished 71st overall.
The 39-year-old rode for the Lampre, Saunier Duval-Prodir and Quick Step teams between 2000 and 2008 before joining Rabobank the following season. Garate finished in the top-ten on GC at the Giro d'Italia on four occasions, winning the mountains classification and a stage in 2006 as he finished seventh overall.
Garate also enjoyed a Vuelta a Espana stage win in 2001 although winning the 2009 Tour de France stage to Mount Ventoux was the "most special victory" of his career as he told Cyclingnews last year. The Spaniard has retained his links to cycling in 2015, particularly at the Vuelta where he was the voice of race radio.
Cyclingnews has reached out to Cannondale-Garmin to confirm the appointment of Garate.
Last month Robbie Hunter announced he was leaving his post as Cannondale-Garmin sports director after two-years in the team car having previously ridden for the team. Cannondale-Garmin's sports directors in 2015 also included Bingen Fernandez, Fabrizio Guidi, Andreas Klier, Eric Van Lancker, Charles Wegelius and Johnny Weltz.
The UCI held its UCI Sport Director Diploma courses for current and aspiring sports directors bewteen November 10-17 this year in World Cycling Centre team in Aigle, Switzerland.
Cannondale will be a new look team next season with the departures of Ryder Hesjedal (to Trek) and Dan Martin (to Etixx-QuickStep) after seven years in argyle, while Rigoberto Uran, Pierre Rolland and Simon Clarke are among the 11 signings made in the transfer window.