Spain’s Caja Rural—Seguros RGA rounds out its 2017 roster with the addition of Justin Oien, who joins Chris Butler (who raced at Cycling Academy in 2015) to give the Spanish Professional Continental team two Americans for the coming season.
The 21-year-old Oien is also the latest rider from Axeon Hagens Berman to make the leap to the professional ranks. A strong sprinter and promising one-day rider, he is the final rider to close out the roster at 20 for the Spanish team going into 2017.
“When I first started racing, my dream was to do it professionally in Europe one day,” Oien said in a team release. “I want to enter each race with the goal of having an impact on the race, because that’s how you learn and get better, by testing yourself and putting yourself in different scenarios.”
Along with the arrival of Butler, 28, who returns to Europe next season after racing with BMC Racing in 2010-11, the Spanish team will boast seven of its 20-rider roster for next season with non-Spanish riders.
Backed by sponsor Fuji Bikes, the team is looking to have a stronger presence on the U.S. circuit in 2017.
“I’m going to stay very focused on continuing to improve and live up to the expectations that so many believe I can accomplish in some of the biggest races in the world,” Butler said last month. “There are a lot of proven winners on this team and I think that we will have someone to go for that role in every race. Therefore, I want to be super reliable year round to help my teammates.”
The latest moves are part of big changes at Spain’s only Pro-Conti team. Four of its riders from 2016 made the leap to the WorldTour, with Carlos Barbero heading to Movsistar, Hugh Carthy to Cannondale—Drapac, Pello Bilbao to Astana, and José Goncalves to Katusha—Alpecin.
Also joining for 2017 are Dylan Page (Team Roth) and Yuri Trofimov (Tinkoff), while it appears an effort to make room for Amets Txurruka (Orica—BikeExchange) fell short.