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Cobo returns to Movistar

Juanjo Cobo will return to Movistar next season as the Spanish outfit carved room in its budget to make space for the defending Vuelta a España champion.

Movistar announced Friday that Cobo, who was looking at unemployment in the wake of the closure of his Geox-TMC squad, will return to Movistar colors for 2012.

Cobo rode a terrible season with Movistar in 2010, when he could barely manage to finish races and nearly quit the sport. A return to Geox-TMC (formerly Saunier Duval) in 2011 saw a reversal of fortune and he delivered a surprising Vuelta win this year.

Team manager Eusebio Unzué said the arrival of the “bisonte de la Pesa” will round out the squad for coming season that also sees Alejandro Valverde return from a two-year ban.

“It’s another step forward in the quality of our roster. I think the victory in the Vuelta changed his mentality,” Unzué said in a team release. “I think his arrival and Alejandro’s will make us take a leap above our previous status, mostly because the team surrounding them is even stronger than last year’s support.”

Cobo also echoed his satisfaction about returning to Spain’s top pro team for next season.

“Movistar is one of the biggest squads in the world and will give me a chance to be in the most important races of the calendar,” Cobo said. “I know they made an extra effort for me. I rode under Unzué in 2010 and things did not go as expected. I think both of us are feeling disappointed about that and now I am sure it will turn out for the better. I am ready to do well and get together with my new teammates.”

Cobo, along with Valverde, will be introduced at a Movistar presentation set for Wednesday next week in Madrid.