De la Fuente avoids retirement, signs for Caja Rural
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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

De la Fuente avoids retirement, signs for Caja Rural

by Shane Stokes at 2:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Geox TMC rider finally gets a deal for 2012

David de la FuenteFollowing the signings of Juan Jose Cobo by Movistar and Denis Menchov by Katusha, another of the former Geox TMC team’s strong riders has found a place on a team for 2012. David de la Fuente, who received the award as the most aggressive rider in the 2006 Tour de France, has secured a slot with the Pro Continental Caja Rural squad and will step up to a leadership role.

Today’s confirmation brings to an end worries that the Spaniard had that he would have to retire. He and many others from the team were left in limbo when Geox abruptly walked away from its title sponsorship of the team back in October.

The management of the squad tried to find replacement backers but ultimately had to admit defeat just before Christmas.

De La Fuente has now picked up a contract for 2012, and has a chance to chase more personal results than before. “After many years helping fellow riders, it is a major challenge to test my limits and see how far I can go to pick up victories for the team,” he said.

While he will have more responsibilities, he also stresses that he is prepared to help others too. “Obviously I will work for the team where requested,” he said. “As I have always done, I will put the group’s interests ahead of my own…I really believe in this philosophy.”

Last week De La Fuente told Spanish media that he was reluctantly facing up to the prospect that he might be left without a deal. “I don’t have anything…I’m waiting for replies,” he told Marca then. “The prospects are bad.” He added that he was preparing himself mentally for retirement.”

From that perspective, today’s news is a big weight off his shoulders. “I am very happy to be able to race in 2012 with Caja Rural and to continue to show my worth as a cyclist,” he said. “Apart from being my profession, this is my passion and I want to continue enjoying cycling.”

De La Fuente has been a pro since signing with Vini Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval in 2003. His results include that combativity award at the 2006 Tour, first in the GP Llodio in 2007, a stage of the Deutschland Tour in 2008 and then first in the GP Miguel Indurain one year later.

Now 30, the Geox situation has forced him to sign with a smaller squad than he had intended to race with. However he said that the prospect that Caja Rural could grow further was a big motivation for the riders concerned, himself included.

“I hope to bring everything I can, and if possible, to take much bigger victories. Caja Rural looks very promising for 2012.”

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