By Antonio J. Salmerón
Francisco Pérez of Caisse d'Epargne is an all-terrain rider and usually trains with Alejandro Valverde in their home region of Murcia (southeastern Spain). Pérez, delighted with his Tour de France inclusion, will travel to London with Valverde and the rest of the team on Wednesday afternoon to London for the Grand Départ.
Directeur Sportifs José Miguel Echavarri and Eusebio Unzue needed Pérez to complete the strong roster that must support the three Caisse d'Epargne leaders (Vladimir Karpets, Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde) in the fight to win the the Tour.
"It has been a very pleasant surprise but foreseeable because I had done the traditional calendar for competing in the Tour," Francisco Pérez noted to Cyclingnews. The 28 year-old rider explained with enthusiasm that, "I am ready to work very hard during the following three weeks in order to help to Valverde to win the Tour, because I am convinced that he is able to do it."
Pérez will debut in the Tour de France, although it will not be the first time that the Spaniard has disputed a three-week race because he had already started the 2006 Giro d'Italia where he shared the Caisse d'Epargne leadership. Pérez will be encouraged for a strong performance in the Tour because he will renew his contractual agreement before the end on the current season.