Rubén Plaza – one of the numerous “refugees” from the Operación Puerto doping scandal — has landed a contract with Caisse d’Epargne for 2010.
The reigning Spanish champion was linked to the Spanish blood doping scandal in 2006 via his former team at Comunidad Valencia (ex-Kelme), but was later cleared by a Spanish judge.
Like several Spanish riders, Plaza was unable to find a major team to sign him and raced in Portugal the past two seasons. Caisse d’Epargne initially signed him in 2007, but dropped him after several race organizers didn’t want to see Puerto riders at their respective events.
At 29, Plaza gets a second shot at Caisse d’Epargne and he hopes to make the best of the new opportunity.
A strong time trialist and climber, Plaza is capable of winning shorter stage races and will provide support to Alejandro Valverde, another Puerto-linked rider who is facing his own troubles from the 2006 scandal.
Plaza is the final rider signed for Caisse d’Epargne and will join his teammates in their first training camp ahead of the 2010 season next week in Pamplona.
Caisse d’Epargne will count on 27 riders for 2010 and signed some very strong riders to complement its roster.
Along with Plaza, new riders include Christophe Moreau, Marzio Bruseghin, Mauricio Soler and Juanjo Cobo.