Chasing more stage race success is high up on De La Cruz’s list of objectives for 2019, with a specific focus on one-week races.
He added: “If you don’t have goals it’s really difficult to find the motivation to give your best and to train hard. The first thing I always say is that I want to keep improving. It’s something which will forever be a goal, and every year you have to look at areas you can improve. It’s what makes you hungry to pursue your dreams. If there’s one thing I would like to achieve this year it’s to try to win an overall GC in a one-week stage race. In the past I’ve been close several times – fourth, third, second – and so this year I’m looking to do it. It’s the first step towards doing the GC in a big Tour – doing really well in a one-week race, and then once you’ve passed this test you can go into a big Tour with more confidence and have something in the pocket which makes you push to go for it.”
Progression has been evident for De La Cruz, with victory in the final time trial at Ruta del Sol particularly pleasing.
On his progress against the clock he explained: “It’s difficult to say in which area I improved the most because I’ve been working on many different aspects. But I’d say looking at the results last year it would probably be in the time trials. That’s thanks to the staff that we have on the team and the bikes that Pinarello provide for us. I think it’s one of the areas where I felt I made a step forward.
“When you change team sometimes it’s not really easy and there can be a lot of changes. But here I felt really comfortable and I found a family. I think I’ve learned a lot of things that will help me going into the new season. It’s important to see where you can improve – what you did well and what you did not so well – and it’s been a year where I learned a lot. Sometimes I got results I didn’t expect, but I’m really looking forward to 2019 and making those improvements.”