By Antonio J. Salmerón
After a year of riding for a Belgian team, Spaniard Josep Jufré made his debut with Saunier Duval-Scott at the Tour Down Under. "It went very well for me," noted the 32 year-old of his debut in Australia.
"I was racing there last year, but now, being a part of the ProTour Circuit, the race was very controlled. We did well, and I am delighted with the team's second place. We were fortunate with the good weather because the temperatures, in general, were not sweltering," he noted to Arueda.com.
The veteran left Predictor-Lotto for Spain-based Saunier Duval-Scott over the winter. "There were several reasons and circumstances," he continued. "Aside from being a great team within the ProTour, the main reason for me was the great amount of confidence that Joxean Fernández Matxin showed. In fact, I was close to signing with Saunier Duval in 2005, but it did not work out."
Jufré brings his experience to a team that is younger than in 2007 after the departures of Gilberto Simoni, Koldo Gil and David Millar. "I think my role at Saunier Duval is quite clear; on one hand, I will be trying to take advantage of each opportunity to win, and secondly, with my experience, to try to help the team achieve more successes."
He has already decided his calendar in 2008. "After racing in Australia, I am going to race in the Vuelta a Valencia, and continuing later with Paris-Nice, GP Indurain, Vuelta al País Vasco, Clásica de Primavera, Subida al Naranco, Vuelta a Asturias, Volta a Catalunya, Dauphiné Libéré, the national championships, Tour de France, San Sebastián Classic, Subida a Urkiola, Vuelta a España and the Vuelta a Chihuahua."
He wants to arrive as healthy as possible to the Volta a Catalunya, the national championships and the Tour de France. "The last two years I raced the Giro [d'Italia], but the Tour de France is the race that is really special."
Like many other riders in Spain, Jufré also spent part of his career in the neighbouring country. "I am grateful to Portugal and to the Boavista team. It's true that it was a necessary step to gain experience." After that, Jufré was joined with Cadel Evans at Predictor-Lotto. "He is a great rider, rigorous and very professional. For me, Cadel Evans is a great person too. I really enjoyed working for him. ... He is a good example to follow."