Spanish Professional Continental squad Caja Rural-RGA has completed its 18-rider team roster for 2014, the biciciclismo.es website reported Saturday, meaning there is no place for any of the Euskaltel-Euskadi riders currently looking for a team or for ex-Belkin rider Luís León Sánchez.
According to biciciclismo Caja Rural-RGA’s budget for 2014 did not permit any more signings, even if Sánchez's track record made him a very attractive proposition to the Spanish squad and at one point a deal seemed close.
Others riders rumoured to be possible signings include Chris Horner (RadioShack) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Both remain without contracts for 2014.
Instead, the team will once more have breakaway specialist Amets Txurruka, former Giro podium finisher David Arroyo and mountain climbers like 2012 Vuelta stage winner Antonio Piedra, all of whom remain with the squad, as their highest-profile names.
New signings include three riders from WorldTour team and several young rider. These are Angel Madrazo (Movistar), Davide Vigano (Lampre-Merida), Peilo Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi) Heiner Parra (4-72 Colombia), Lluis Mas (Burgos-BH ) and amateur riders Fernando Grijalva and Antonio Molina.
Despite not signing a high-profile rider for 2014, Caja Rural-RGA hopes to raise the bar in other ways in 2014 by targeting a wild card invitation to the Giro d’Italia as well as riding the Vuelta a España on home roads.
Arroyo’s presence in the team could help Caja Rural gain entry to the Giro d’Italia. He finished a surprise second overall in the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
The team’s first race of the 2014 season will be the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabón, Africa in January.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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