One of a number of promising riders to join Team Sky for the 2018 season, David de la Cruz says that the team was the natural choice for him to realise his GC ambitions.
The Spanish rider joined the team from Quick-Step Floors as part of a deal which saw Elia Viviani heading in the opposite direction, and says that the team's focus on the general classification at Grand Tours is what made him make the switch.
"Of course I want to improve on my GC ambitions," said De la Cruz. "That was one of the main reasons why I moved to Team Sky.
"You see that every team has their own zone and Team Sky know how to fight for the GC classification. Other teams know how to win Classics or stages or sprints, but Team Sky is the reference point for winning the GC."
Now 28 years old, De la Cruz's GC potential first came to the fore at the 2016 Vuelta a España, where he held the red leader's jersey on stage 10, going on to deliver top 10 GC performances in the Tour of the Basque Country and Vuelta a Burgos last season.
Those performances clearly attracted the attention of Team Sky, with De la Cruz now hoping for a return to the Vuelta in his first season with his new team.
"I want to be the best rider I can be on the big tours - and La Vuelta is one of my goals," De la Cruz continued. "It is my home race and it’s gone quite well over the last two years.
"I was wearing the leader’s jersey [in 2016] and this year I was really close. My ambitions for the second part of the year will be La Vuelta and if I have good legs and I deserve it, I know I will have a team that will support me. That’s super nice."
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Joining a team with so many general classification options, De la Cruz clearly realises that he will have to earn his place in the team's Grand Tour plans, but still sees the British team as the best place to develop into a Grand Tour contender himself over the coming years.
"Last year we were talking to a few teams but Team Sky was my priority because from the outside I thought it was the team where I can still develop my skills and my performance," the Spaniard went on. "I moved here because I thought it was the team to help me be the best rider I can be.
"That’s why I moved here. I was really happy when everything was going in the right direction and I have to say it was an easy decision in the end.
"Of course there were some other teams and I have to say thank you to all of the teams who were interested in me, but in the end I think I made the right decision and I am super happy to be here."
De la Cruz's first race in the new white and blue colours of Team Sky will be the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which starts on January 31, with more spring stage races likely to be on the cards at the Ruta del Sol and Paris-Nice.
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