When Omega Pharma-Lotto split up at the end of last year, the team's star riders naturally knew where they were going to race this season. But one of the squad's less known domestiques, Spaniard Oscar Pujol, was a victim of the situation which saw some of the team's riders join Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and others Lotto-Belisol. Pujol had a valid contract through 2012, but as the team's managing company was taken over and team contingents full, he was left out on the street.
Now, the 28-year-old is moving to an Iranian Continental team, the Azad University Cross Team, as no other European squad was interested, either. "At my age, you can't live on memories. You have to look to the future and my future now includes experiencing this new cycling. I will have a good calendar in this team, different to the one I've had these past years. I think I can still learn a lot," said Pujol, whose last race with Omega Pharma-Lotto was the GP Montréal. Pujol also rode for the Cervélo TestTeam in 2009 and 2010, making it into the team's Vuelta a Espana roster.
The Azad University Cross Team includes 15 riders, eight Iranians, three Colombians, one Malaysian and now two Spaniards. It was through the Malaysian rider, Ng Yong Li, that Pujol found his new home. "I knew him from the Tour of Langkawi, we stayed connected on Facebook and he got me in touch with the team management," Pujol continued.
The Spaniard's first race for his new outfit will be the Tour of Korea from April 22-29. "After that, we'll do the Tour of Azerbaijan from May 11-16, and it's possible that we'll race the Tour of Japan," he added.