The Baluarte Palace has served one more season to present the new project of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, a cycling team that in 2018 has 45 cyclists divided between its professional roster and an elite and under 23 feeder. The act has started with a surprise. After a brief introduction video, the guests have discovered the De Rosa Protos bike customized in green that our riders will use to compete throughout the year. The black model exposed days ago is reserved for training.
Deepening in the formative character of the structure, another video has shown the path of a cyclist from kid to professional. After that, Juan Mari Guajardo has presented one by one the 24 names of a feeder full of young guns seeking to reach the professional level.
Before announcing the 21 riders of the professional squad, we have known the agreement with De Rosa, the prestigious Italian brand that provides the team’s bicycles since this season. Also important companies such as Named Sport (sports supplementation), Miche (wheels), Selle Italia (saddles) or Deda (power and handlebars) have arrived to the project.
An even younger pro team
Talking about the professional group, the main feature of the roster directed one more year by Eugenio Goikoetxea and José Miguel Fernández is the youth. Only five of the twenty-one riders are over 25 years and more than a half have ridden for the feeder before wearing the first team’s jersey. Eight signings and eight nationalities compose a balanced group, which hopes to stand out.
Furthermore, relevant personalities of this sport have discussed about current issues such as the reduction of cyclists by team in every race, the safety of the cyclist in competition or the current situation of the national youth system The guests have been José Luis López Cerrón; president of the RFEC, Javier Mínguez; manager of the Spanish team, Javier Guillén; general director of Unipublic, the former cyclist Txomin Perurena and Juan Manuel Hernández; manager of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
To conclude, Ricardo Goñi; Director of Institutional Relations of Caja Rural and Pablo Gónzalez de Castejón; general manager of Seguros RGA, took part in the stage representing the two main supporters of the structure, the companies that give stability to a project that starts its ninth campaign since its return to the professional level.
Ricardo Goñi: “We keep believing in cycling as the best sport to strengthen a brand. There are many similarities between cycling and Caja Rural, because it is a sport for everyone and Caja Rural aims to be the saving bank of all. To become a cyclist is essential to have some qualities as a person: perseverance, enthusiasm, honesty or hard-working. These are the same qualities that the Caja Rural employees we try to keep in mind every day. When we talk with the riders we ask them to be honest and humble but at the same time demanding and ambitious. We all like to win and we fight for it. In essence, at Caja Rural we share those values. The team is also a mix of veteran and youth that manages to combine the illusion, the desire to grow and evolve of the young riders with the long-term vision and the knowledge to wait for their moment of the veterans”.
Pablo González de Castejón: “I emphasize the enthusiasm which all of us who are part of Seguros RGA have lived these five years with the team. This team has made us to grow and has made us bigger. We know that the sponsorship is much more than taking the logo in the athlete’s jersey. It is a much more important bet and we know that the values that are associated with the team are the values that will be transmitted to our brands. For us, solidarity is a fundamental value and for this reason we launched in 2013 the ‘Bicicleta Solidaria’ and in 2014 the ‘Iniciativa Solidaria’ together with Caja Rural, two actions that, thanks to the cycling team, have enabled us to raise more than 400,000 euros for the most disadvantaged people”.
The whole team travel to Benidorm for a training camp from where part of the professional roster will depart to the Vuelta a San Juan (Argentina) (21st – 28th) and the other to the Challenge of Mallorca. The main novelty of this first part of the season is the invitation to ride the Tour of Oman, a race organized by ASO in mid-February.
Julen Amezqueta, Álex Aranburu, Miguel Ángel Benito, Danilo Celano, Álvaro Cuadros, Fabricio Ferrari, Jon Irisarri, Jonathan Lastra, Lluis Mas, Antonio Molina, Mauricio Moreira, Justin Oien, Sergio Pardilla, Rafael Reis, Cristian Rodríguez, Nick Schultz, Gonzalo Serrano, Joaquim Silva, Nelson Soto, Yannis Yssaad, Josu Zabala.
ELITE AND U23 ROSTER:
Iñigo Altuna, Eneko Aramendia, Pablo Benito, Jorge Bueno, Xavi Cañellas, Álex Caro, Carlos Cobos, Víctor Etxeberria, Javier Fuentes, Luis Mari Garikano, Sergio Ginés, Antonio Gómez, David González, Arturo Grávalos, Hailu Hailemelekot, Pol Hervás, Oier Lazkano, Andoni López de Abetxuko, Sergio Martín, Joel Nicolau, Joseba Otaola, Aitor Rodríguez, Jaume Sureda and Daniel Viejo.
Photo: Photo Gómez Sport / Luis Ángel Gómez