Spain again topped the UCI ProTour nation ranking in 2010 but the presence of Spanish riders in the peloton is set to shrink by up to 13 percent in 2011, with more riders racing for non-Spanish teams.
The Biciciclismo website has calculated that 132 riders have so far been registered in Spain for 2011. This number could rise with some late signing by minor teams but could mean there will be 20 fewer riders than in 2010.
The demise of the Xacobeo-Galicia team has caused the loss of several places with only four riders from the team so far findings places for 2011.
The 132 riders will be spread across 25 different teams, although only seven of them will be Spanish. 78 rider (59 percent) of the riders will compete for a Spanish team, while the remaining 54 (41 percent) will ride for other teams.
Spain will have two ProTeams in 2011 with Euskaltel-Euskadi and Movistar, Geox-TMC, Andalucía-CajaSur, Caja Rural, Geox-TMC, Andalucía-CajaSur, Caja Rural and Orbea y Burgos 2016 will compete as either Professional Continental or Continental teams.
Of Spain's representatives in the peloton, 57 (43 percent) will compete with ProTeams in 2011, while 44 (33 percent) will ride for Professional Continental teams and 24 percent ride will for Continental teams.
Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton will again lead Euskaltel and Carlos Sastre has joined Geox-TMC but other Spanish riders have left Spain after receiving major offers from international teams. Luis Leon Sanchez will be officially presented as part of the 2011 Rabobank team later today in the Netherlands, alongside fellow Spaniard Oscar Freire.
Alberto Contador has signed a contract with Saxo Bank-SunGard. He may be banned before ever pulling on the team’s colours but his domestiques Benjamin Noval, Jesus Hernandez and Daniel Navarro will all race for the Danish-registered team in 2011.
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