Daniel Ricardo Diaz
Type of Rider: Allrounder with climbing abilities
Biggest success: Vuelta a Madrid Sub 23 2010
Team 2010: Cafés Baqué
Stagiaire: Footon – Servetto
Team 2011: Movistar
Best Mock List Ranking: new
Pro cyclists from Argentina are of a rather rare species. Because the favourite sports in Argentina is soccer, soccer and soccer. So it doesn´t suprise at all if when searching for information on Daniel Diaz one finds terms like “El nuevo Messi del ciclismo argentino”. This only shows that Argentinean cycling still misses a big star.
One gets a first impression of Daniel Diaz when looking at his birth-place: Salta is located at the foot of the Andes, not far from Bolivia. The training conditions in Argentina are not quite optimal according to Diaz. That is why he more often trains on Bolivian roads at altitude. That reminds us of Columbian Pros, and with those riders Diaz can be compared best. A physically strong and tough rider who can convince most on long climbs. That this impression isn´t wrong at all is shown in a series of Diaz´ results. But let us first separate his South American from his European results.
Diaz first came to attention when at age 15, he finished second in the Argentinian Junior championships. His break-through result came in 2008, when he could win a stage and the overall classification against older rivals in Bolivian Vuelta a Tarija. His good October-form continued at the Vuelta a Bolivia (2.2). Here Diaz could get 3 Top Five stage finishes in extreme altitude conditions. And it doesn´t surprise that when on-form Diaz took part in his home Vuelta a Valle he got another stage win. Also his 5th place overall against older national competition can be rated as a success. His 2008 season was perfect when he won the Apertura Temporada de la Argentina, the traditional opening race of the Argentinian cycling season 2008/2009.
Diaz continued in the same way in 2009. Eleven victories in three different countries aren´t bad at all. In February there were three stage wins at the Clásica del Oeste in Argentinia plus the overall win. His 2009 Argentinian campaign was finished with placing 2nd in the Under 23 time trial national championships and a win in the Subida a El Jumeal. In Bolivia two stage wins at the Vuelta a Santa Cruz and third place overall followed. Like in the previous year Diaz showed strength in October and November. A stage victory at the Bolivian Vuelta a Cochabamba and then in November seven top five placings at the Vuelta a Bolivia (2.2). He only narrowly missed a stage win there. But he could take two stage wins at the end of November at the Vuelta al Ecuador (2.2).
In 2010 the young Argentinian took the next step in his career. At the end of March, after a not so successful Tour de San Luis he transferred to the Basque team Cafés Baqué that in the past produced riders like Julián Gorospe, Igor Astarloa or Joseba Beloki. The latter was also Diaz´ new sporting director. Diaz must have thought to begin a new career step on a high note, as he won his very first race. He also got to wear his first Basque txapela in May after a victory at the Prueba Santa Cruz. But the Argentinian was not only strong in one-day-races. Top 5 in Bidasoa Itzulia, followed by a 3rd place at the Vuelta a Navarra, including two stage wins. His biggest success so far in Spain was the overall win in the Vuelta a Madrid Sub 23 at the end of July.
So it´s no wonder that big teams are interested in him. After the win at the Vuelta a Madrid Diaz left Cafés Baqué and went to Footon-Servetto as a stagiaire. Here again he strong debut in his first race: at the Circuito de Getxo (1.1) he could win the mountain price.
From early on Daniel Diaz aspired to a Pro career with intense training, for instance in the mountains of Bolivia. Step by step he worked his way from Argentina to Europe. Even though the allrounder/climber could have raced one more year at the Under 23 level, he decided to move on to the Pros, to the new Pro-Tour team of Movistar. They were looking for an Argentinian rider, and so the talent Diaz was chosen. A rider who seems to be very robust, with a strong physique, who seems predestined for hard racing.
Nominated by chreezer & ocana, written by ocana, translated by bugno