While Orica-GreenEDGE have cemented a reputation as a team to watch out for in a sprint, the 2015 Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana stage winner will add valuable depth and experience to the team when the road points upward.
The two-time Spanish road champion (2003 and 2009), joins the Australian outfit after seasons with Lampre-Merida and Movistar. Plaza joins compatriot Amets Txurruka who has also been confirmed to join Orica-GreenEDGE’s growing roster of climbers in 2016.
Plaza took both of his 2015 major victories from a break away. His result on the monumental 20th stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) drop out of overall contention.
35-year-old Plaza is eager for a new start and focus in his 15-year career, one that will see him become crucial support for the likes of Colombian Esteban Chaves and British twins Adam and Simon Yates.
“I'm really proud that a team such as Orica-GreenEDGE is giving me this chance be part of something special. I was looking for a new direction for my career, so when this possibility came up, it was an easy choice for me to make.
“I'm at a point where I'm ready to give 100% to a team with some amazing young talent for the Grand Tours and I'm convinced we can take those guys very far.
“There is so much potential on this team and I'm ready to give it my very best. I can't wait to start this new adventure with one the most international teams in the world.” - Ruben Plaza
Sport Director Neil Stephens said Ruben would give Orica-GreenEDGE “a range of experiences and abilities we are missing at the moment." Plaza will play an important role in guiding and mentoring the team's younger riders.
“The main thing we want out of Ruben is his experience, his capacity to guide our young guys, but also his ability to be there in the key moments,” Stephens said.
“Similar to how Mat Hayman came into our team to help in the Classics, Ruben will help in the mountains. He is a guy that can be there in the last 20-odd riders. He was top ten on Alpe d’Huez this year, which is great, but what excites him more is to be around guys like the Yates boys or Chaves and to be able to guide them through the major races.
“Ruben is a guy that is always very motivated. He is motivated to join our team, he is motivated in every race he starts and he is motivated to do his job well. But if the opportunity presents itself he is also very capable of pulling off a result himself, like we saw at this year’s Tour de France.”