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“My first role will be to help Rigoberto Uran to fight for the victory in the big tours. He is the leader of the team for the three-week races, and everybody knows that he can do a really great result in one of them.”

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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DAVID DE LA CRUZ

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RIGOBERTO URAN

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SOUDAL - QUICK STEP

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03.11.2014 @ 09:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Over the last two seasons, David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura) has developed from a promising young Spanish cyclist to a genuine contender for weeklong stage races. In 2015, he will take another step in his development, as he will be a member of WorldTour team Etixx-Quickstep, where he will be charged with helping Rigoberto Uran to win a Grand Tour.

 

The 25-year-old climber had previously finished second on GC in the 2012 editions of the Vuelta Esturias and fourth in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. But in 2014, and in the Tour of California in particular, he showed his true potential. De la Cruz was second behind Esteban Chaves on Mountain High in sweltering conditions and he ended up tenth on GC too.

 

He followed that up with eleventh on GC in the Tour of Slovenia where he worked for teammate Tiago Machado, who won the race. This resulted in a call up to the Tour de France team, where he unfortunately crashed out.

 

“It is the greatest and most important step I never had in my professional career until now. To be part of a team like Etixx-Quickstep is a dream for me, so I'm really looking forward to the next season. But I know this dream has come true thanks to my team NetApp-Endura. They made me a more professional rider and more international. So I have to say thanks to all the team and all our sponsors because they made it possible that I will ride for one of the biggest teams of the world,” de la Cruz told CyclingQuotes.com in an exclusive interview.

 

As for his 2015 objectives, the Spaniard was in no doubt over what he wanted to achieve most in his first year among cycling’s elite.

 

“My goal is still my development, I really want to be a great rider in the future and I know I have to learn a lot, but I'm sure that with Etixx-QuickStep I will find the perfect environment to improve as a cyclist and to make the team proud to have me.”

 

de la Cruz was brought in with Maxime Bouet (AG2R) to bolster OPQS’ climbing roster after Wout Poels, Rigoberto Uran’s key domestique, departed for Team Sky. This will allow de la Cruz to sample the Giro d’Italia in 2015, where Uran is expected to line up and de la Cruz will be charged with protecting him in the mountains, something Poels did so well in 2014.

 

“My first role will be to help Rigoberto Uran to fight for the victory in the big tours. He is the leader of the team for the three-week races, and everybody knows that he can do a really great result in one of them. He will have the support from all the team.”

 

But de la Cruz is humble despite his newfound success and acknowledged to us that without NetApp-Endura, he wouldn’t have received the chance to ride in the WorldTour. He also points to how well his stint with the team will have prepared him for riding in such a multicultural team like Etixx-Quickstep.

 

“Like I said before thanks to NetApp-Endura and all its sponsors I am able to face this big opportunity. When I started with them I almost couldn't speak English, and didn't ride to much outside Spain. Now after two years with them I'm more international, more mature and for sure I’m a better rider now.”

 

While de la Cruz will savour every race in his debut season in the WorldTour, there is one race which he will enjoy the most: the Volta a Catalunya, his home race. NetApp hasn’t ever ridden the race and this means de la Cruz hasn’t ridden his home event since 2012 and that has been the biggest downside for de la Cruz riding at NetApp. While de la Cruz wont be guaranteed a place in his new team’s roster for the race, should he be picked, he ensures he will make sure he is in a good position to chase a result.

 

“I'm really looking forward to the whole race program I will have next season, but it is true that one race will be special for me. It’s the Volta a Catalunya, because it is my home race, and it would be great to do it. Once it is in my race program I will do my best to get a great result in front of my friends and family.”

 

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