The Omega Pharma–QuickStep team has announced the signing of Spaniard David de la Cruz for the next two seasons.
The 25-year-old currently rides for NetApp-Endura and impressed this year with tenth overall at the Tour of California and second on stage 6 to Mountain High. He was part of the NetApp-Endura Tour de France team but crashed out of the race on stage 12, fracturing his collarbone.
“We think this guy has his best years in front of him," Omega Pharma-QuickStep CEO Patrick Lefevere said in a statement from the Belgian-based team.
"He has already shown his potential in the past two years, such as when he was second on the queen stage at Tour of California. We knew about him and that he could be a rider that could strengthen the group of climbers we already have on the team."
De la Cruz is expected to help Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski in stage races. De la Cruz was a late developer but showed his talent with a spell at Caja Rural before joining NetApp in 2013. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team will become Etixx - QuickStep in 2015 due to a change in title sponsorship.
“I didn’t know I had a talent for the sport until I was 18, when I started to ride my bike to the supermarket where I worked, after an injury," De la Cruz said. "One day I asked the local team guys if I could train with them and they said yes. That is where my career started. If you would have told me, at 18 years of age, that I would be riding for one of the best teams in the world by the time I was 25 I would have told you that you’re crazy. Now I am here signing a contract with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and I am proud and happy. I know a few of the guys from the team, especially Michal Kwiatkowski when we were teammates on Caja Rural.
"When I talked with Patrick Lefevere he explained that my role on the team would be to help the GC guys in the mountains, but that I can also be useful in the right moments. I will do all that I can to grow as a rider. No one can understand how happy I feel right now and I will do everything 100 per cent to continue to develop as a rider on this team."
The Etixx - QuickStep team will also have Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra and Mark Cavendish as team leaders in 2015. Other new signings include Maxime Bouet from Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fabio Sabatini from Cannondale and Yves Lampaert from Topsport Vlaanderen.