Thursday, January 03, 2013

Durán confirms Efapel signing

Arkaitz Durán has finally found a home for the coming season, and, entirely as expected, he'll wear the colours of Portuguese Continental outfit Efapel in 2013.

Ever since completing a sensational 2012 season in the amateur ranks with Azysa-Telco'm-Conor, Durán's future has been the subject of much speculation. Initial reports had it he'd signed with Eusebio Unzúe's Movistar team, but those reports turned out to be unfounded.

Then, after reportedly being rejected by both Euskaltel and Caja Rural, it was announced he'd inked a deal with Efapel in late November - which he then went on to deny a pair of days later. Three years into the new year though, and everything appears to be set in stone.

"Everything's gone well, and I've reached the goal I've had since the start of last season", he told El Correo, referring to rejoining the professional ranks. "I had several options, including a team that could go ahead as a WorldTour team, but eventually I signed for Efapel".

The native of Vitoria, the Basque capital, will start off his season at next month's Trofeo de Apertura, before going on to the Volta ao Algarve (13-17 of February). The 26-year-old relishes the calendar of races presented to him by Portugal's biggest team, and is aiming to prove his worth both in the team's homeland as well as his own.

"In terms of participation in races, this is the best Portuguese team", he said. "I aim to reach Algarve in good shape as it's an important goal, but I won't forget the Volta ao Portugal in August. We may also line up in the Vuelta a Asturias, Castilla y León and Gran Premio Amorebieta. It'll be important to perform well in those races, as I hope to take a further step up the ladder in 2014".

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the rider once hailed as the next big thing claims he's now better than ever despite missing out on a full calendar year of professional racing.

"I went seven years without knowing what it was like to win a bike race", he said, referring to his long, and winless, professional career. "I had lost that winner's instinct, but I've now rediscovered it through my 2012 triumphs. I'm now stronger than before".

Photo: Noticias de Navarra

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