By Antonio J. Salmerón
Mikel Pradera has reached a contractual agreement with the Portuguese squad Benfica. The Spaniard will leave Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears after two seasons, as he has finally found continuity for next year with Benfica, which will be directed by Orlando Rodrigues.
The Portuguese team has already signed three other riders coming from the neighbouring country: Jose Antonio Pecharromán (Comunitat Valenciana), the sprinter Javier Benítez (Grupo Nicolás Mateos) and the neo-professional Didac Ortega (FC Barcelona). Portugal's own Jose Azevedo (Discovery Channel) will be the 2007 leader of this new Continental Pro squad.
Benfica will face an ample international calendar, but mainly race in Spain and France. The Vuelta a Andalucia, Vuelta a Valencia or Vuelta a Murcia are included in its race programme.