David de la Cruz will join fellow Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo in the colours of Team Sky next season. De la Cruz, who is set to lead Quick-Step Floors at the Vuelta a Espana this month, had been heavily linked with the British WorldTour team.
"I'm excited to be joining the team. I've really enjoyed my time at Quick-Step but I definitely feel that, at this point in my career, Team Sky is the best place for me to progress and to be the best rider I can be," De la Cruz said in a press release issued by Team Sky.
De la Cruz has long been seen as a stage race contender with plenty of potential.
After turning professional with Caja Rural in 2010, he moved to NatApp-Endura for two years later before he was snapped up by Quick-Step Floors in 2015. After enduring a lot of bad fortune at Grand Tours, De la Cruz made his breakthrough at last year's Vuelta a Espana, where he won stage 9 and finished seventh overall. He will ride this year's Vuelta a Espana with Quick-Step floors despite changing teams next season.
This season, De la Cruz has taken stage wins at Paris-Nice and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Illness hampered the middle part of his season but he returned with a successful Vuelta a Burgos where he finished third behind Team Sky's Mikel Landa and his teammate Enric Mas. With several riders leaving for other teams, including Landa, Mikel Nieve and Peter Kennaugh, De la Cruz is an important signing for the team's Grand Tour line-up.
"He is another really versatile rider who can perform a lot of roles, but he climbs very well and he has had some excellent results on really tough mountain stages, like at the Vuelta a Espana and at Paris Nice. I'm sure he will fit straight in at Team Sky," said Team Sky coach Xabi Artexte.
"He has an interesting story in that he didn't start in bike riding until quite late. His progression has been fast and his talent has always been obvious. He is an excellent signing for us. His performances and results have been improving every year and there is definitely room for him to keep progressing with Team Sky."
Focusing on the Vuelta with Quick-Step floors
For now, De la Cruz says that he has to put thoughts of his new team to one side as he looks to repeat his Vuelta a Espana performance of last year.
"Without doubt, now I am 100 per cent concentrated on the Vuelta a Espana to do the best possible for my team, Quick-Step Floors, with them I have a contract until the end of the season," De la Cruz wrote on his own website.
"For me, this team has been my second family during these years and I am going to defend the jersey with all the honour possible until the end of the season. It is clear that to wear the Sky jersey in 2018 will give me a lot of delight, but now I am at the Vuelta a Espana and I am not looking further than these three weeks."