Teams announce new signings and contract extensions
With the UCI transfer deadline of October 20 rapidly approaching, several teams have announced further signings for 2013.
Caja Rural has now announced enough new riders to bring it up the 16-rider minimum required for a Professional Continental team, including Amets Txurruka and Ivan Velasco, both from Euskaltel-Euskadi. MTN Qhubeka announced the re-signing of five South African riders.
Txurruka, 29, has ridden for Euskaltel-Euskadi since 2007 but was not offered a new contract for the 2013 season. The mountain domestique is a victim of the UCI's point system, used to determine WorldTour teams. He has ridden the Tour de France six times, the Vuelta a Espana three times and the Giro d'Italia once but sacrificed his own chances to score points in favour of the team.
Velasco, 32, had also been with Euskaltel-Euskadi since 2007. He has also ridden all three grand tours, and is expected to use his climbing experience to bring in top 20 finishes in the smaller stage races.
Another top climber coming to the team is David Arroyo of Movistar. The 32-year-old finished second overall in the 2010 Giro d'Italia, wearing the leader's jersey for five stages but was let go by Movistar and opted for a senior role at Caja Rural.
Three young riders are also joining the Spanish outfit. Francisco Moreno is coming over from Androni-Giocattoli, Ruben Fernandez will turn pro with the team, and Oscar Fraile rode for the Orbea Continental team this year.
MTN-Qhubeka, which hopes to become the first African Professional Continental team inn cycling, has extended the contracts of five South African riders: Songezo Jim, Bradley Potgieter, Dennis van Niekerk, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Martin Wesemann.
More signings are expected this week. The team has already announced the signings of Gerald Ciolek from Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Sergio Pardilla and Ignatas Konovalovas of Movistar. Brent Copeland has also joined the team as a directeur sportif.