David de la Cruz was a last-minute call-up as replacement for Team Ineos teammate Kenny Elissonde at the 2019 Vuelta a España. A stage winner and race leader for one day in 2016, De la Cruz was originally set to be part of the British team's eight-man line-up, with Elissonde listed as first reserve.
However, Elissonde was then included in the Ineos Vuelta squad that was announced on Tuesday, and spent Wednesday travelling to the race, only to be told that evening that he was not on the team, after all – and so De la Cruz was back in.
While Team Ineos refused to comment to Cyclingnews on Thursday about the changeovers, De la Cruz was asked by Spanish sports daily AS how he felt about the last-minute call-up, given that he had been dropped before being recalled into the line-up.
"We're professionals, and I had accepted I wouldn't be racing, but now I'm happy to be in the race, I'm looking forward to it," De la Cruz told the newspaper.
"Donde manda patron no manda marinero," he added, a Spanish expression which means that "where the captain holds sway, the sailors don't have a say." In other words, this was a team decision.
"Look at what happened to Movistar with [Richard] Carapaz," he pointed out, referring to the Giro d'Italia winner's recent injuries and exit from the start line of the Vuelta. "They were the ones who announced that he wasn't taking part."
De La Cruz acknowledged to AS that this had been his "worst season ever" and that he had "only raced 37 days this year. I just hope that the benefits [of racing so little] will show in the final week."
Nor did the Spaniard have anything to add about a possible team change for 2020, with Movistar strongly rumoured to be his next squad. "There are various options on the table," he Cruz said, "but nothing yet is signed."
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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