José Luis 'Chechu' Rubiera, a twenty-time Grand Tour finisher, has re-signed a one-year agreement with his Astana team. Rubiera, who planned to retire after this season, reconsidered his decision.
"After 14 years as a professional rider, I thought that 2008 would be my last year, especially with poor performances in 2007," explained Rubiera. "After a successful season with Team Astana, I have decided to continue racing for another season. What convinced me as well was the support I got from the fans the last months. It is incredible how they seem to like me."
Another factor in Rubiera's decision was the comeback announcement of Lance Armstrong. "I enjoyed the best years of my career with Armstrong and if he’s coming back, I might want to be around to see that," he said one week ago.
Rubiera was Armstrong's mountain lieutenant for five Tour de France victories, but has also achieved individual success with two stage victories in the Giro d'Italia, two top ten finishes in the Giro, as well as the Vuelta and rode six times the Tour the France.
"I am very glad that Chechu decided to continue," commented team manager Johan Bruyneel. "Chechu proved this year that he is important for the team. In Murcia he even won a stage. Chechu is not used. On the contrary. We need him as a team captain. His role is to guide the team on the road and to share his experience with all young riders of our team."
To date, the members of the 2009 Astana squad are:
Assan Bazayev, Jani Brajkovic, Alberto Contador, Chris Horner, Maxim Iglinskiy, Roman Kireyev, Andreas Klöden, Berik Kupeshov, Levi Leipheimer, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Gregory Rast, José Luis Rubiera, Michael Schär, Tomas Vaitkus, Andrey Zeits and Haimar Zubeldia.