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It was down to the wire for the winner of the most aggressive prize of the 2006 Tour de France, but De la Fuente will keep racing as a pro at least for one more season.
“I am very happy to race with Caja Rural in 2012 and to continue showing my worth as a cyclist,” De la Fuente said Tuesday in a press statement. “Caja Rural has been growing over the past few years and in 2012 has reached a point of forming a complete squad with a lot of quality. In addition, the hopes to continue growing will unite us all.”
De la Fuente’s arrival to Caja Rural will bolster the team’s hopes of earning a bid to the Vuelta a España. Last year, the team’s hopes were shattered when Vuelta officials chose Skil-Shimano and Cofidis ahead of the Spanish squad. Skil-Shimano later won a stage with Marcel Kittel while David Moncoutie delivered another King of the Mountains jersey and a stage win for Cofidis.
Other top arrivals for 2012 include Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack) and Javier Aramendia (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
With De la Fuente’s arrival, Caja Rural will close out its roster for 2012, said team manager Mikel Azparren.
“We’ve managed to fill out a very complete team to take the challenges of 2012,” Azparren said. “We are confident that he will find his place inside the peloton with more responsibilities. He’s demonstrated to be a very loyal rider for a team and we are confident with us he will have more opportunities to win.”