David de la Cruz will ride for Astana next season after signing a two-year contract with the team. The Spaniard joins from UAE Team Emirates, where he spent the past two seasons, placing 7th overall at each of the past two editions of the Vuelta a España.
“I am really happy to join Team Astana from the upcoming season. I didn’t have any doubts and made quite a quick decision when Alexandre Vinokourov came to me with an offer to join his team,” De le Cruz said in a statement on Saturday.
“I feel like Astana is the team that perfectly suits me, but at the same time, it is the team I suit as a rider. I really like the team’s style, its attacking character, ambitions, and its focus on the general classification.”
The 32-year-old has been a professional since 2010, racing for Caja Rural, NetApp-Endura, QuickStep, Team Sky and UAE Team Emirates. He has claimed five victories over the course of his career, including a win atop the Alto del Naranco on the 2016 Vuelta and two stages at Paris-Nice.
De la Cruz joins an Astana squad that is undergoing something of an overhaul for 2022, with Vincenzo Nibali and Gianni Moscon among the other new arrivals. It is also expected that Miguel Angel Lopez will return to the team after rescinding his contract with Movistar.
“Of course, I understand that the first season in a new team may not be easy, I will have to go through a certain period of adaptation, but I hope that it will be a short one and I will become an integral part of the group quickly,” said De le Cruz.
“I am sure that together with the management we will be able to plan a good race program where I will have an opportunity to help the team to reach its important goals and where I will get a chance to achieve some personal results. Perhaps, I will have a chance to go for the General Classification at La Vuelta or even at the Giro, but, first of all, I am ready to follow the team strategy and the plans to achieve great successes together with Astana.”
De la Cruz’s 2021 season was interrupted by a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but he has finished the campaign strongly, taking 4th overall at the Tour de Luxembourg immediately after his second successive 7th place finish at the Vuelta. On Friday, he took 13th overall at the Giro di Sicilia.
“This is a good reinforcement for us,” said Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov. “We will be able to use David in team tactics at certain races, Grand Tours, but we are also ready to give him some freedom and chances to prove himself in those races that will fit his characteristics."
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