The future of Nairo Quintana is the great uncertainty for the 2023 cycle market. The Boyacá climber has not yet been confirmed by any team for next season despite the fact that a couple of weeks ago he mentioned that he was preparing for the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Spain with a World Tour team.
Time is running out and the international cycling press speculates about the Colombian. Now it was the renowned Spanish journalist Raúl Banqueri who slipped into an extensive article some possibilities for him and other renowned free riders such as Mark Cavendish.
“Considering the limit of 30 riders per team, there are already seven full WorldTeams: DSM, BikeExchange, Movistar, EF Education, Cofidis, Bora, Astana and Alpecin. In other words, none of these teams could legally sign available riders as Cavendish or Quintana in their current situation.
The only option they would have would be to terminate the contract of some minor rider to make room for another. In 2022, Israel did this with Guy Sagiv to sign Dylan Teuns in the middle of the season, “he said in his written for Australia’s ‘Lanternerouge’.
He explains that there are teams that still have three places available, such as Lotto Soudal, Israel Premier Tech and Bahrain Victorius, where a Quintana-style leader could end up. In addition to other options to be gregarious in luxury such as Ineos, Jumbo, Quick Step or Emirates. AG2R, Intermarché and Groupama also appear with two free places to register runners, but these squads had already ruled out the Colombian before the press.
As they discuss the future of Mark Cavendish after the collapse of the B&B Hotels team, he notes: “Among the other riders without a contract are, of course, Nairo Quintana, but also Domenico Pozzovivo (he will probably continue with Intermarché), or the winner of the last stage of the Vuelta, Juan Sebastián Molano”.
And finally the case of Nairo Quintana is broken down: “In the case of the stars Cavendish and Quintana, Israel, Premier Tech could be a logical destination for both. The team needs big names to get WorldTour invitations and can offer a salary commensurate with prestige of both riders.
Also, the cyclists would be free to lead and would most likely ride in the Tour de France, especially after B&B’s capitulation opens up another wild card spot for the grand tour. Another option for Nairo Quintana would be to offer himself as gregarious luxury for UAE, Ineos, Jumbo or QuickStep, all of them with free places and top leaders to protect”.
Nairo, against time
If he really does not yet have an agreement as presumed, the Colombian could be left adrift for the 2023 season; although, unlike soccer, he could be signed up at any time of the year by a team that fires another running back.
However, the Israel Premier Tech rumor goes against what Quintana said weeks ago since it is not a World Tour team and could only ride the Tour de France by invitation. Of course, there he would be the absolute leader as he was in Arkea and he would have Chris Froome (a staunch rival of his best sporting moment) as a squire and gregarious.
Bahrain Victorius is the other team that is positioned as a possible logical destination if one takes into account that there are still three places available and that Míkel Landa (Nairo’s ‘enemy’) will ride the Tour de France as leader. Thus, Quintana would attend the Giro y Vuelta as he mentioned a few weeks ago.