After an inconsistent period racing for Ag2r La Mondiale, three years where he took several standout results but also spent long periods out of shape, Carlos Betancur is hoping to turn things around with the Movistar setup.
The 26 year old Colombian has inked a two year contract with the team. It hopes that he can make the most of a talent which has been evident for many years but thus far not consistently utilised.
Betancur’s early successes included the silver medal in the 2009 under world road race championships plus victory in the following year’s Baby Giro. These helped secure him a two year deal with the Acqua e Sapone squad, with which he won the 2011 Giro dell’Emilia and the 2012 Trofeo Melinda.
He reached a new level with Ag2r La Mondiale in 2013, netting third in Flèche Wallonne, fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and fifth overall plus the best young rider award in the Giro d’Italia.
However problems with his motivation and weight started to crop up and while he won both the Tour du Haut Var and Paris-Nice in 2014, he greatly frustrated Ag2r La Mondiale team manager Vincent Lavenu by going AWOL for periods of time and then returning from Colombia overweight and unfit.
There was talk of a split but he remained with the team in 2015. Unfortunately that didn’t go well; while he was second, sixth, eighth and tenth on stages of the Giro d’Italia plus 20th overall, he didn’t race after that.
His new squad hopes for a better showing. “After the 2015 season did not bring him back to the impressive results obtained in the past, Betancur is seeking for a relaunch to his career in the Movistar Team,” it said on Friday.
The Spanish team earlier announced that Spaniard Jorge Arcas and Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira would come on board.
Meanwhile former Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti has extended with the Androni-Sidermec squad, with 2016 set to be his fifth straight season with the team.
He was fourth in this year’s Giro dell’Appennino and also took top ten finishes in the Gran Premio di Lugano, the Giro dell’Emilia, the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali and the Herald Sun Tour.
However he’s also gone close to some very big wins, as the team notes.
“In the last two seasons, we remember Pellizotti on the verge of victory at Zoncolan, the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia 2014, third at the finish in Imola and caught up at 500 meters from the arrival in Vicenza.”
Now 37 years of age, he’ll complete at least one more year in the peloton.