Cardoso joins Caja Rural

Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack) wins stage four of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack) wins stage four of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. (Image credit: AFP)

Portuguese sprinter Manuel Cardoso will take a step back from the WorldTour in 2012, heading to the Professional Continental Caja Rural squad from RadioShack following his team's merger with Leopard Trek.

The Spanish team also announced that its title sponsor has extended its contract through 2014 and will increase the budget, according to Diario de Navarra and the team's website.

28-year-old Cardoso this season won stage four of the Volta a Catalunya and took 16th in the UCI road world championships in Denmark.

With only one victory to his names in each of the past two seasons, Cardoso is looking to have greater opportunity in the coming season. "Things have not gone so well with RadioShack as I thought with the arrival of McEwen," Cardoso said to Diario de Navarra.

He said team director Mikel Azparren had been trying to sign him for a while. "I found the proposal interesting. I am an ambitious rider, I can not promise victory, but all my work and my professionalism. I want to do good things with Caja Rural, I found a good team."

The team, headquartered in Navarra, will continue to be managed by Floren Esquisábel, with Mikel Azparren, Juanma Hernández and Eugenio Goikoetxea. Directeur sportif Xabier Artetxe will exit the squad.

Half of the 18 riders for 2012 will be new recruits, with eight Spaniards and ten foreign riders. The squad will set its sight on selection for the Vuelta a Espana..

"It's a dream that we all hope will become reality," said Azparren. "It will be special because the Vuelta starts in Pamplona, and that is very special for our home region. We are very motivated and want to do well."

Continiuing with the team are Garikoitz Bravo, Aitor Galdós, Igor Romero, Julián Sánchez, Fabricio Ferrari, David de la Cruz and Alexander Ryabkin.

In addition to Cardoso, the team has also recruited Javier Aramendia from Eustaltel-Euskadi, Marcos Garcia (ex-Xacobeo), Antonio Piedra (Andalucia), Hernani Broco, André Cardoso (Tavira), Danail Petrov (Konya) and neo-pros Karol Domagalski and Yelken Gomez.

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