Rafael Valls joins Vacansoleil-DCM on one-year contract
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Rafael Valls joins Vacansoleil-DCM on one-year contract

by Ben Atkins at 10:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spanish climber rescued from Geox-TMC collapse despite sitting out most of 2011 with mononucleosis

rafael vallsRafael Valls has signed for Vacansoleil-DCM on a one-year deal, the Dutch WorldTour team has announced. The 24-year-old Spanish climber has become the latest rider to be rescued from the collapsing Geox-TMC team, whose main sponsor is withdrawing at the end of the season. The deal was negotiated between the rider and team manager Dan Luijkx last week; he will become Vacansoleil-DCM’s 29th and final rider for the 2012 season.

“We have been following Valls since 2010 and know his talent,” said Luijkx. “He is a rider whose age and way of racing fit our team. I have great confidence in the fact that this rider will be a valuable addition to our team in stage and hilly races.”

Valls first rode as a professional in 2007, when he signed on as a stagiere with Relax-GAM, but hit the big time in 2010 after signing with Footon-Servetto – the team which would go on to become Geox-TMC. He won a stage and finished third overall in his first race of the year, the Tour de San Luis, and then impressed once more with second place in the Trofeo Inca in Mallorca. He really came to prominence in the Tour de France though, when he finished second to Quick Step’s Sylvain Chavanel on the tough stage to the Station des Rousses.

Unfortunately for the Spanish rider, 2011 has not matched up to the previous year since it has been blighted by mononucleosis, which he has been suffering since May and has not yet fully recovered from.

“I have chosen for Vacansoleil-DCM because they showed interested in me in 2010 and again now after a difficult season,” said Valls. “Furthermore at this team young riders get a chance to get immediate results.

“Besides that, the comfort of a WorldTour programme is good to plan my season,” he continued. “I think I will have big possibilities in this team to get better and support the leaders in hard races.”

More good news for Valls is that his wife is expecting the birth of their first child in the coming weeks; the rider will join his new team some time after the birth.

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