Benat Intxausti and Branislau Samoilau headed to Team Movistar
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Benat Intxausti and Branislau Samoilau headed to Team Movistar

by Jered Gruber at 12:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Unzue's team scooping up young climbing talent

It didn't take long for Benat Intxausti to find a home. Just hours after the announcement of Eusebio Unzue's new sponsor, Telefonica, Het Laatste Nieuws reports that the 24 year old 2nd place overall at this year's Vuelta al Pais Vasco has signed a two year deal with the squad that will be known as Team Movistar.

The news goes quite against what Intxausti said a few days ago: "Currently, I am only thinking about the Vuelta a Espana, and I hope to continue the momentum, both mine and that of the team. I will quietly decide later where I will go for the future."

Just a little while after the news of Intxausti broke, reports that Movistar has also inked a deal with the Belorussian who currently races for QuickStep, Branislau Samoilau. The 25 year old has shown great prospects as a climber and time trialist. He netted a 9th and a 6th place in two of the Giro's most difficult climbing stages this year (stages 19 and 14 respectively), a 12th overall at the Dauphine, and 1st in his national championship time trial.

The Telefonica deal has certainly breathed new life into Unzue's long running team, and it looks possible that two of the team's stars, Luis Leon Sanchez and Jose Ivan Gutierrez, might not take up their offers from abroad, instead remaining with their longtime team out of Navarre.

The signings of the two young climbers will certainly add firepower to the Movistar lineup for next season. Intxausti appears to be on a path to the climbing elite, while Samoilau could be considered to be just a step behind. In the absence of a dominant leader on the team due to Alejandro Valverde's suspension, the two riders could see a lot of chances to ride for their own gain in 2011. 


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