Once again I`m going for a vacation. This time I`ll be away until next Thursday, so, I`m really sorry, but the blog won`t be updated until the first-coming Thursday. So, all that`s left is to wish you all a happy Easter. Enjoy the vacation:)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Igor Antón is really approaching top form. Today he took 5th at the top of the Alto de Nevacerrada, and now lies 4th overall going into the last and hilly stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. Alan Pérez once again impressed, as he was a part of a break that went after only 10 km. Alan showed his good form, attacking the break right before the last ascent. Alan opened up a small gap, but it was to no use, as the pace set in the bunch by Discovery Channel was far too high for the break to succeed. As the break was reeled in, the attacking started. Igor was on the offensive several times, but when Alberto Contador and Koldo Gil left, he tried, but couldn`t keep up. Though, Igor came in an impressive 5th, only 28 seconds back. Igor now lies 4th overall. Here`s how the Euskaltel riders placed today:
- 5th, Igor Antón, 0:28
- 30th, Iñigo Landaluze, 2:30
- 58th, Amets Txurruka, 3:42
- 93rd, Haimar Zubeldia, 5:00
- 108th, Alan Pérez, 9:12
- 116th, Andoni Aranaga, 11:02
- 118th, Aitor Galdos, 11:43
- 120th, Andoni Lafuente, 11:43
- 4th, Igor Antón, 0:48
- 26th, Iñigo Landaluze, 3:11
- 76th, Haimar Zubeldia, 5:44
- 79th, Amets Txurruka, 5:56
- 114th, Alan Pérez, 12:53
- 115th, Aitor Galdos, 13:04
- 119th, Andoni Aranaga, 20:08
- 122nd, Andoni Lafuente, 21:11
Euskaltel lie 7th in the team classification. After the stage, Alan Pérez and Igor Antón spoke to www.fundacioneuskadi.com. First up, Alan :"Finally we managed to join a break. The truth is that in the previous stages we guessed wrong, we always joined the soon-to-be unsuccessful breaks. We`ve tried a thousand times, but we couldn`t do it. That forced us to work at the front, and that is always hard. We (the break) knew it would be hard to make it, as today`s stage was hard and there are people here who are in very good form backed up by strong teams, as was the case with Contador and Discovery. They did not give us enough leeway, and they brought us back when they wanted. I tried to go solo on the Nevacerrada, but it didn`t work. I felt good today, but it was impossible to succeed because of the pace of the peloton". Igor had this to say :" I`m very satisfied with my ascent. When Koldo Gil and Contador left, I tried to follow, but they were way too fast for us and impossible to catch. In the end I placed 5th, but the most important thing for me is that I`ve been at the front and felt well. Tomorrow is a complicated stage, with two hard ascents, and you never know what can happen".
Posted by Magnus at Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
- 57th, Iñigo Landaluze, 0:14
- 92nd, Aitor Galdos, 0:14
- 107th, Amets Txurruka, 1:06
- 119th, Alan Pérez, 2:32
- 120th, Andoni Aranaga, 2:32
- 121st, Andoni Lafuente, 2:32
Six of Euskaltel`s 8 riders finished outside the leading group, mainly due to fatigue as the whole Euskaltel team had to lead the peloton for much of the day in pursuit of the breakaway-trio. The team did an amazing job bringing back the leaders. Looking forward to tomorrow`s race-deciding stage to the Alto de Nevacerrada, Euskaltel will pin their hopes mainly on Igor, and, if feeling well, Haimar. Igor spoke to www.fundacioneuskadi.com about tomorrow`s stage: "Contador is in very good form; his win in Paris-Nice shows that. Karpets is also going strong, like Sevilla. And you can never exclude Basso and Sastre... I`ll try to be with the best, to see what my form is like. I`m still not in top form, but I`m getting closer and summit-finishes are my thing".
Posted by Magnus at Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Euskaltel placed two riders in the top-10 of today`s second stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. Aitor Galdos took 5th, while Igor Antón grabbed a surprising 10th. An eight-man break got away, but were never close to succeeding, as the peloton, led by Caisse d`Epargne, Euskaltel and Benfica, never let the break`s advantage get over 3 minutes. The break was reeled in with 15 km to go, and a bunch-sprint was inevitable. Euskaltel had their hopes pinned on Aitor, who was one of the favourites today. Aitor only partly delivered, grabbing 5th. Igor got 10th, while the rest of the Euskaltel guys, with the exception of Andoni Aranaga and Andoni Lafuente, came in with the peloton. The two Andonis came in 6:06 adrift, as a result of their hard work at the front of the pack earlier. Though a 5th place isn`t bad, Aitor was far from pleased with his result today. This is what he said to www.fundacioneuskadi.com straight after the finish: "I`m not content with my sprint today. I thought that I had better legs, but I wasn`t able to fight for the win. When I started, Ventoso and Benitez flew by me. Let`s hope I`m better tomorrow, as I`ve been close and my form is coming along".
Posted by Magnus at Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Looking ahead to tomorrow, a sprint will likely be the result as the day is mainly flat. Aitor Galdos will be Euskaltel`s man if a sprint is set-up, and he`s one of the favourites for sure. Aitor spoke to www.fundacioneuskadi.com today about tomorrow`s stage: "In Santarém I was in the front, though the truth is that I`m way off my best form. The fall (he fell heavily in the recent Vuelta a Murcia) still causes pain to my back, something that`s prevented me from training well these last weeks. Anyway, I`m feeling better, and tomorrow can be a good day to measure my form and to see what I`m capable of in this race".
Posted by Magnus at Monday, March 26, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Euskaltel will send a powerful-looking 8-man team for the five-day Vuelta a Castilla y León, starting on Monday. The team will be directed by Xabier Carbayeda, and will include the following riders: Haimar Zubeldia, Igor Antón, Iñigo Landaluze, Alan Pérez, Amets Txurruka, Aitor Galdos and Andoni Lafuente. The race opens with a 10-km ITT. The second stage is completely flat, while the third is rather hilly. The fourth stage is the queen-stage of the race, with the summit at the Alto de Navacerrada. The last stage is also quite hilly.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Posted by Magnus at Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
I`m going for a short trip to see my grand-mother tomorrow, and will be back on Sunday evening. That means that there won`t be any updates until then, but be sure I`ll bring you all the latest from Koldo`s win in Sanremo once I`m back. Until then, take care.
Posted by Magnus at Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
In an interview with DEIA, see previous post, Koldo revealed some of his main goals for the season. First up on his calendar is the Milano-San Remo one-day race on Saturday. After that he`ll do the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix and then his main goal for the season, the Giro d`Italia. Koldo says he hopes to win a stage in the Italian three-week tour.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
- 44th, Antton Luengo, 9:03
- 57th, Beñat Albizuri, 12:20
- 80th, Unai Etxebarria, 17:55
- 84th, Koldo Fernandez, 19:45
- 90th, Aketza Peña, 23:45
- 98th, Aitor Hernández, 24:54
- 104th, Iban Mayoz, 26:51
On the team rankings Euskaltel finished a lowly 18th.
Euskaltel`s sports director at the Tirreno-Adriatico, Jon Odriozola, had this to say after the race`s conclusion to www.fundacioneuskadi.com : "This is a very important victory for the team, and it`s given immense joy to all of us. The team was already doing well. Albizuri, Mayoz, Luengo and Hernández have all been very active, as they were all part of breakaways that gave us some exposure, but Koldo`s win was just so impressive. The list of sprinters here are impressive, and Koldo beat them all comfortably. He spectacularly overcame O`Grady, and showed impressive strength. Our bet was on Koldo today. In the previous stages we tried to win through breaks, but everyday we tried a bunch-sprint was set-up. From the start of the season Koldo has shown much confidence in his capabilities and felt that he could beat the best. The Vuelta a Andalucia confirmed this for him. In the last stage he came second behind Freire. Here in Italy he didn`t doubt he could pull it off. He`s been brave and he went all the way. The whole team thought he could do it, so Unai Etxebarria and Beñat Albizuri both stayed close to him in the final kms. For the team it`s a tremendously important win. It gives us confidence and a reason to continue to work hard. As a team we are working phenomenally, and the victories reinforce the desire to continue following this hard line. I think that we`re a team of fighters, and by fighting we`re getting big results like this one."
Monday, March 19, 2007
According to an interview with Spanish cycling site esciclismo.com, Iban is satisfied with his first ever Paris-Nice. Despite a crash on the last stage that sent him out of the race, Iban showed good form earlier on and was 24th on GC going into that last stage, so it`s no wonder he`s pleased. In this small interview, he talks of his surprisingly good early-season form, his next appointments, the crash etc. Click and read: http://www.esciclismo.com/ampliada.asp?Id=4247
- Antton Luengo, 41st, 3:27
- Beñat Albizuri, 57th, 5:59
- Iban Mayoz, 63rd, 6:37
- Aitor Hernandez, 80th, 10:40
- Unai Etxebarria, 112th, 14:02
- Aketza Peña, 121st, 16:21
- Koldo Fernandez, 131st, 16:21
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Luckily, Iban was not seriously injured after he crashed out of Paris-Nice today. Iban fell early on in the stage after a big pile-up and had to abandon. Though, http://www.saunierduval-prodir.com reports that Iban did not sustain any serious injuries, but that he had to have his elbow stitched. Hopefully, and probably, this won`t keep Iban out of competition for a long period of time, he`ll probably be back on his bike in a day or two. Though, as Iban was starting to ride better and better and climbing on the overall, it was a real shame he had to leave the race. But, hey, that`s cycling rigth?
Euskaltel had a great day today in Paris-Nice, with Samu taking 4th on the stage and 9th overall, and with Gorka Verdugo in the break. Gorka, together with 10 others, escaped early on. Though, after some 10-15 kms in front, the break was considered too dangerous, so they were reeled in. On the last climb, Samu was brilliant. He attacked at least twice up the final 2nd category Col d`Eze, though without luck. On the descent he was fearless as always, and nearly got away. In the end Samu placed 4th on the stage, meaning a 9th overall in the season`s first Pro Tour race. This is how the rest of the Euskaltel riders placed:
- Mikel Astarloza, 46th, 4:32
- Markel Irizar, 50th, 4:32
- Gorka Verdugo, 64th, 13:33
- Rúben Perez, 71st, 13:33
- Andoni Aranaga, 72nd, 13:33
- Alan Perez, 81st, 17:08
On GC, the seven Euskaltel riders placed:
- Samu Sánchez, 9th
- Mikel Astarloza, 38th
- Gorka Verdugo, 41st
- Markel Irizar, 49th
- Alan Pérez, 71st
- Rúben Pérez, 73rd
- Andoni Aranaga, 76th
In the team rankings, Euskaltel placed a respectable 9th.
- Antton Luengo, 99th, 3:17
- Koldo Fernandez, 105th, 3:24
- Iban Mayoz, 106th, 3:28
- Aitor Hernanez, 108th, 3:29
- Aketza Peña, 118th, 3:37
- Beñat Albizuri, 140th, 4:22
- Jon Bru, 158th, 6:26
Overall, Koldo Fernandez is the best placed Euskaltel rider on GC, lying 59th, 5:19 adrift.
According to live reports of the last stage of the Paris-Nice, Iban has abandoned due to a crash. This is really sad, as Iban has looked strong all week and the last stage was almost tailor-made for him with three 1st category climbs. Velonews said this about the crash: "That crash
early in the stage seems to have had more serious consequences than we thought. Race radio reports that at least eight riders in the muddle decided to bag it as the pace picked up. No one is seriously hurt, but Gerben Lowik (Rabobank), Matthew White (Discovery Channel), Gert Steegmans (Quick Step), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval),Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Brett Lancaster (Milram) have all pulled out of the race." Updates on the crash and Iban`s health will be brought to you as soon as I get any info on it...
Euskaltel did a great stage today. With a six-men strong break up the road, and with all six riders sitting well placed on GC, Euskaltel took control of the peloton and started a frantic chase. Especially Markel Irizar and Andoni Aranaga were to be seen at the very front of the peloton several times, as the peloton started to take back time from the escapees. The peloton got back together before the last climb, a short 2nd category hill, where Alberto Contador, Luis León Sanchez, David Lopez Garcia and Sylvain Chavanel got away. Samu was a part of that small group for a while, but drifted back into the chasing group, where he did a lot of work to reel in the leaders. Samu`s work payd off, as the peloton brought everyone but Luis Sanchez back. In the final sprint, as I said earlier, Samu placed 7th and therefore got 8th on the stage. The rest of the Euskaltel riders came in further back, as the hard work earlier on the stage took its toll. Gorka Verdugo was 37th, 4:28 back, Mikel Astarloza 55th, 5:38 behind, Markel Irizar 112th, 15:21 behind, Rúben Perez 117th, 17:47 behind, Andoni Aranaga 118th, at the same time as Rúben, and Alan Pérez 123rd, 19:08 back. Before the last stage, Euskaltel lie 10th in the team rankings, with Samu lying 13th overall at 46 seconds, Gorka Verdugo 32nd and Mikel Astarloza 39th.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Posted by Magnus at Saturday, March 17, 2007
Posted by Magnus at Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Today`s stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage-race did not produce any results to brag about for Euskaltel. Jon Bru was the best placed Euskaltel rider, coming in 39th, 29 seconds behind winner Riccò. Further on, Koldo Fernandez and Unai Etxebarria came in 36 seconds back, with Aketza Peña 1:12 behind in 70th, Beñat Albizuri and Antton Luengo finished 82nd and 83rd respectively, both 2:10 behind. Iban Mayoz and Aitor Hernandez both finished 8:13 behind, in 121st and 124th place respectively. Best Euskaltel rider on GC is also logically Bru, lying a distant 39th, 1 minute adrift of leader Arekeev.
In the second stage of the Volta ao Distrito de Santarém today, Amets Txurruka formed part of a quartet that escaped early on. Amets took the only KOM points on offer, but sadly, the break was reeled in with less than 10 kms to go. The stage finished with a mass-sprint where Aitor Galdos couldn`t quite pull it off, finishing 10th. All Euskaltel riders finished inside the peloton. Tomorrow`s stage is a 17 km ITT, though, as Euskaltel hasn`t got any real TTers in this race, don`t expect too much.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Iban did a good stage today in Paris-Nice. A demanding 170 km-long stage, with the end at the summit of a three km steep climb, saw Iban finish 23rd, only 56 seconds off the pace. Iban came in with a group consisting of, among others, strong-men like Luis Léon Sanchez, Patxi Vila, Joaquin Rodriguez, Alexandre Botcharov, Thomas Voeckler and Roman Kreuziger. It was impressive stuff from Iban, as he`s not supposed to be in peak form until May, and with a mission to look after David Millar as well. On GC, Iban lies 30th, 1:39 back. But with hilly and mountainious stages left, Iban might well advance on the overall standings. After the stage, Saunier Duval sports director Joxean "Matxin" Fernandez had this to say about Iban`s performance: "He did well. He had to have an eye on David (Millar) and did so. He was right where he had to be". He`s looking good...
After the stage, Samu spoke to www.fundacioneuskadi.com. Here`s what he had to say: "I`m pleased. I`ve been well, though I needed a little extra if I were to contest the stage, but I`ve had good sensations. Alberto Contador is in marvellous form, as he already demonstrated on the Campello in Valencia. As for me, I follow the same line as last season. I`m better, and in a race of such calibre I`ve been among the strongest. The next days the goal will be to win a stage. The overall is difficult, though I won`t discard it, but the realistic thing now would be to go for a stage-win. I`m pleased with being so far ahead on GC, but it`ll be difficult to advance. The team is riding well, so we can look for wins from breaks and even from attacks at the end. It`ll be difficult to repeat last year, when I finished 4th overall, but a stage-win is more important".
Euskaltel did not have the best of days in the Volta ao Distrito de Santarém today to say the least. In a 1.1 ranked event, and with few Pro Tour teams present, you would expect Euskaltel to fight for the wins. Though, Euskaltel weren`t even close. The best placed Euskaltel rider was Lander Aperribay in a distant 60th spot, 17 seconds behind winner Benitez. Aitor Galdos, Dioni Galparsoro, Amets Txurruka and Iban Iriondo were also in this group. Further back, Unai Uribarri placed 140th, 4:04 back, while Andoni Lafuente ended dead last, a massive 25:53 behind. After the stage, sporting director Xavier Carbayeda was far from pleased with his riders. This is what he had to say to www.fundacioneuskadi.com: "We were bad today. A break consisting of three riders got away, but with none of us in it. Logically we had to chase, as Aitor Galdos was our big hope for a sprint. Though, we weren`t able to get anyone in the front group. Tomorrow has to be better than this. The only way is up".
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
After the stage, Euskaltel director Jon Odriozola and Beñat Albizuri talked to www.fundacioneuskadi.com. First up, Jon: "The team did a great job today, and everyone have been where I expected them to be. Mayoz and Albizuri had the objective to join breaks, as today`s stage was suited to their abilities, as they`re both good rouleurs and with a good sprint. Albizuri was the one who got away today, and he gave us a lot of publicity. Though, it was painful to see them reeled in with less than three kms to go. Facing the sprint we had Koldo, who`s arrived here in excellent condition and with a spark. Though, he had bad luck and punctured with only two kms to go. He fought with the best ones, but couldn`t finish off the great work". Beñat had this to say: "It`s been a very fast stage, and as the list of good sprinters is huge, it will be difficult for a break to stay clear. We (the break) attacked early. We cooperated well, but it wasn`t to be. I admit it`s painful to make such a big effort without succeeding. This is the third unsuccessful break this season, after my breakaways in Mallorca and Andalucia both failed. But, we have to keep trying, and hope that perhaps the next break we enter succeeds".
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Today`s third stage in the Paris-Nice stage-race saw Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas take the win, with Samu Sánchez coming in only two seconds back in 11th place. Samu seems to be in good shape ahead of the potentially race-deciding 5th stage on Thursday.
Today`s break went with no Euskaltel representative in it. Though, it was not for the lack of trying, with both Rúben Pérez and Markel Irizar on the attack in the early stages. Thomas Voeckler, the last of the original four-men break to capitulate, was caught inside the final km. To catch him, the peloton chased at a frantic pace, causing the peloton to split up in several pieces. Pellizotti arrived solo, with a 26-rider strong group followed at two seconds. Samu was a part of this group, coming in 11th, and now lies 11th also on GC. The next Euskaltel rider to come in was Rúben Pérez, who came in with Boonen`s group only 8 seconds adrift of the winner. Further on, Gorka Verdugo, Markel Irizar, Andoni Aranaga and Mikel Astarloza came home with the main group, 19 seconds back. Alan Pérez was 124th, at 46 seconds, while yesterday`s hero Iban Velasco was 139th, at 1:11. Currently, Samu lies 11th overall at only 15 seconds. Rúben Pérez is the next best placed Euskaltel rider in 33rd place. Going into the third stage, Euskaltel lie 10th in the team rankings.