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Spain’s de la Cruz hoping for reboot at UAE

Spanish rider leaves after two frustrating seasons at Ineos with an eye on kick-starting his career.

David de la Cruz was once Spain’s next big thing. A sub-par 2019 season saw him plateau in a two-year move to Sky/Ineos. At 30, de la Cruz moves to UAE-Emirates in 2020 in a bid to restart his career.

In an interview Thursday, the Spanish all-rounder said new goals and a new jersey should do him well.

“I am excited to start anew with a new team and close this chapter that I’m leaving with a bad taste in my mouth, especially during the season year,” de la Cruz said. “Sporting wise, I didn’t perform like I wanted to, but to have been part of this team was something I am proud of.”

De la Cruz left Quick-Step at the end of 2017, where he won a stage at the Vuelta a España in 2016, to join Sky/Ineos. Many expected him to step in as a new motor in “Fortress Froome,” as well as emerge as a GC captain for lesser races. A series of crashes and setbacks, especially this season, saw him stall. He never raced the Tour with the British team and could only muster 15th overall when he went to the 2018 Vuelta as a GC leader.

“It was a complicated year with injuries and crashes,” he said. “I didn’t have the continuity in my calendar that I would have liked. I fractured my hand in California, and I had a bad crash in the end of July as I was preparing for the Vuelta. Everything adds up.”

De la Cruz said he had offers from other teams, but he picked UAE-Emirates because the team offered him a chance to perform and regain his confidence.

“Matxin [sport director Joxean Fernández] showed confidence in me after my hard year,” he said. “I will race in events that are good for me, such as Paris-Nice or the Vuelta, and just go as well as I can, without thinking about a specific target.

“I don’t know how far I can go, because the crashes and injuries have really held me back the past few years,” he continued. “That’s what I want to find out [at UAE-Emirates]. The most important thing is to have ambitions and find your space on the team.”