Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Velasco - I'll have freedom at Caja Rural
















While the non-renewals of Iván Velasco and Amets Txurruka were met with universal disapproval by Euskaltel aficionados, the experienced duo wasted little time in finding a new home at Caja Rural. The two climbers are likely to have considerably freer reins at the Pro Continental outfit than at their WorldTour counterparts, and Velasco is relishing the opportunity.

"I'm very pleased to be signing for this team", a press release, released after the rider's presentation to the media today, reads. "From the first time I spoke to them they showed 100 percent faith in me, and I'd like to repay them for that. I'm so pleased, and I know I'll have opportunities to ride for myself, I'll have freedom. I think I have what it takes to do well, and I'd like to show that. Hopefully I can pay them back with a win, I'd like that."

The green team has profited massively from the UCI's much-debated points system this winter, picking up the Euskaltel duo and Movistar's veteran escalador David Arroyo as their previous teams prioritized points over quality in their recruitment for the 2013 season. Add in additional new signings Omar Fraile and Fran Moreno, and it's clear they have quite a solid roster for the upcoming campaign.

"I think we have a good team: a team with quality, a team with speedy riders, riders who can climb... We'll do well. We've got a very balanced team. Last year they did very well, but I believe we're stronger now. Us veterans will carry the weight of the team, try to come up with results and teach the younger riders."

The 32-year-old Mondragón-native went on to say he "had some other offers", but that Caja Rural "showed they wanted to count on me", so "here I am, very happy".

Velasco's 2013 racing schedule naturally depends on the eventual invitations the team will receive to the bigger races, but he's expected to be one of the team's protected riders in the Vuelta a España if the team receives, as is anticipated, a wild-card.

Photo: Caja Rural

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