Spaniard finds eleventh-hour contract after Geox-TMC demise
30-year-old Spaniard David De La Fuente has signed on with the Caja Rural Professional Continental team, becoming one of the final riders from the now-defunct Geox-TMC squad to find a job for 2012.
The winner of the 2009 GP Miguel Indurain brings nine years of experience as a professional, including six at the sport's top division with Saunier Duval, Fuji-Servetto and Astana to the team, which aims to grow in stature in the coming season.
Team manager Mikel Azparren was happy with the new addition. "We managed to fill a very complete team to meet the challenges of 2012," he said. The team aims to be invited to the Vuelta a España, and he thinks De La Fuente will be important toward that goal. "He has proven to be very valuable rider for the team, and we hope that he will find with Caja Rural more opportunities for exploits, final triumph and happiness."
De La Fuente said that after years of helping teammates such as Alberto Contador and Juan Jose Cobo win Grand Tours, that he is ready to accept the challenge of exploring his own limits and to see how far he can get in the sport.
"I hope to bring everything I can, and if possible to take bigger wins," he said.
"Obviously I will always work for the team when asked, as I've always done, and continue putting the interests of the group ahead of personal ambitions. I firmly believe in that philosophy.
"I am very happy to ride in 2012 with Caja Rural and can continue to prove myself as a cyclist. Besides my profession, this is my passion and I continue to enjoy cycling."
De La Fuente joins Portuguese rider Manuel Cardoso as one of the top men on the team,
Of the 23 riders on the Geox team in 2011, only Giampaolo Chuela, Marco Corti, David Gutierrez and Marcel Wyss have yet to announce their new teams.