Daniel Moreno adjusts to his new Omega Pharma-Lotto team
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moreno adjusts to his new Omega Pharma-Lotto team

by VeloNation Press at 11:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

In the off-season Spaniard Daniel Moreno made a switch to the Omega Pharma-Lotto team, brought on board as a key lieutenant for now World Champion Cadel Evans during the Tour de France. With the Australian's surprise move to the American BMC Racing outfit, Moreno now finds himself struggling a bit with his identity on his new Belgian team.

During the second training camp for Omega Pharma-Lotto on the island of Mallorca, DH.be reported that Moreno looked a little lost despite being in his home country of Spain. Apparently, he would often be seen at the end of the table without much to say.

"There's the language barrier, even if I try to understand," explained team captain Philippe Gilbert of the Spaniard's isolation. "I'm really glad he has signed with us, because he's a very good rider." When the team saw the Spaniard's palmares, Gilbert said they knew he would be a valuable asset to the squad.

All things considered, Moreno is taking things in stride. "I was recruited to help with the Tour de France," he said, acknowledging that he finds himself in a strange position.

"The welcome was very warm, and Philippe has made a big effort," he said. "I'll try to learn English, although in the races, we always understand. But I think the atmosphere is very good, which will help me to integrate."

Now the 28-year-old will be exploring new ground in 2010, and with the addition of learning a new language, he'll also find himself with more freedom than he has had in the past. When he was on the Caisse d'Epargne team he rode in the service of team leader Alejandro Valverde, playing a big part in his compatriot's Vuelta a Espana win. Even while riding as a domestique, Moreno managed to finish in 11th place overall. He said he's looking forward to his new situation.

"Now I can play my cards more often since I have more freedom," Moreno commented with a smile. "I hope to have some freedom in races like the Tour of the Basque Country, or in the Vuelta a Espana." The Spaniard thinks that he can ride higher in the general classification if he's able to ride his own race. "If I don't have to work for someone, I can finish in the top 5," he explained.

In one of the final races of the 2009 season Moreno finished second to Glibert while he was on unbeatable form. "He is a great rider who is well respected, even at the Giro del Piemonte when I knew I would be on his team in 2010, I still tried to win," he admitted.

Even though things aren't quite what he expected, Moreno is looking forward to the season and already notices some improvements from the situation with his former team adding, "I realize that at Omega Pharma-Lotto, they pay far more attention to the small details then at Caisse d'Epargne."

"I'm proud to be a Belgian team," he said, confident things will improve. "For a Spanish rider, it's a luxury! It's because Belgium is cycling country. During my first year as pro when I was at Relax-Bodysol I had already been impressed."

Although much has happened since he was hired on, Moreno said still looks forward to playing supporting role on the team concluding, "What would make me happy is to help Gilbert to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège."


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