Ruben Plaza is the latest signing for the Orica-GreenEdge team as they look to bolster their climbing line-up. Plaza joins Amets Txurruka, Chris Juul-Jensen and Luka Mezgec, who have joined the team for the 2016 season.
"I'm really proud that a team such as Orica-GreenEdge is giving me this chance be part of something special," Plaza said. "I was looking for a new direction for my career, so when this possibility came up, it was an easy choice for me to make."
"I'm at a point where I'm ready to give 100% to a team with some amazing young talent for the Grand Tours and I'm convinced we can take those guys very far. There is so much potential on this team and I'm ready to give it my very best. I can't wait to start this new adventure with one the most international teams in the world."
Orica-GreenEdge have made some major changes to their roster, as they try to build a support network around promising young GC riders Esteban Chaves and Adam and Simon Yates.
The 35-year-old Plaza has a wealth of experience in the peloton after turning professional in 2001. He has spent most of his career at Spanish teams, including iBanesto and Caisse d'Epargne. He has spent the past season at Lampre-Merida, enjoying a bumper year that has seen him take a stage win at the Tour de France and on the final mountain stage at the Vuelta a Espana. He has previously won a stage at the Vuelta in 2005, he is also a double national road race champion.
"The main thing we want out of Ruben is his experience, his capacity to guide our young guys, but also his ability to be there in the key moments," said directeur sportif Neil Stephens. "Similar to how Mat Hayman came into our team to help in the Classics, Ruben will help in the mountains. He is a guy that can be there in the last 20-odd riders. He was top ten on Alpe d'Huez this year, which is great, but what excites him more is to be around guys like the Yates boys or Chaves and to be able to guide them through the major races.
"Ruben is a guy that is always very motivated. He is motivated to join our team, he is motivated in every race he starts and he is motivated to do his job well. But if the opportunity presents itself he is also very capable of pulling off a result himself, like we saw at this year's Tour de France."