Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The 21st of May is the day

It's official: CAS will announce their verdict on the 21st of May. Iban and his lawyer, José Rodriguez, confirmed the date to Basque daily DEIA today. "It's true", Iban said. "I'm pleased, obviously. I heard they came to a conclusion in Valverde, Di Luca and Petacchi's cases... And in my case, nothing. I just had to wait. If I lost hope? No, I knew the day had to come. Though, we only know the date when they will make their decision public, we know nothing about what that decision might be..." Speaking of the future, he was a bit more pessimistic: "I have no idea what that may hold for me. First we'll just have to wait for their verdict, then... I don't know. The only thing I want right now is for CAS to clear my name. But even if they do, I can't imagine myself riding for a Pro Tour team. Team's will be afraid to touch me, but I'm still hopeful of being able to decide for myself when to stop riding my bike. What happens, happens. Though, nothing will be like it once was". Stay tuned for more reports on the case...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Iban forever


Due to several reasons I won't be updating the blog in some weeks. To be honest there's just too much going on right now, so I have to quit something. But relax, it's only temporary. I probably won't start posting full-time again before late May I'm afraid. Though, I WILL write about Iban if there's any news, so stay tuned for that. I'll also be updating the riders' profiles along the way, but nothing more than that. I'm sorry, I really am, but I've taken the decision to stop for a while. I'll post a pic of Iban later today, but that will be the last post in a while. See ya!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

No gold for Euskaltel in Amstel

It was a dismal day for the team in the Amstel Gold Race today. None of the riders were ever really in the mix, or on TV for that matter, as the riders failed to be protagonists in the Dutch one-day classic. Aitor Galdos did well though to come home 31st, 1:55 down, in a group containing names like Voeckler, Gilbert, Scheirlinckx, Bertagnolli, Aerts, Brandt and Kolobnev, while Mikel found the 31 climbs a little too tough, coming in another ten places down, 2:06 back. Egoi ended up 54th, 2:43 in arrears, while Jorge, Iñaki and Juanjo came in 98th, 99th and 100th respectively, all 7:42 down, while Rubén came in alongside Xavier Florencio 8:07 down. Javier naturally found the going tough in his first Ardennes Classic and abandoned. The same team will take part in the Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday, so hopefully the team will perform better than. Aupa!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Haimar unhappy with slow start

First of all: I'm sorry for my inactivity these last few days. Though, it's not for the lack of trying. The internet has gone on strike several times this week, so I really haven't had the possibility to post anything. But that's about to change right now... Haimar is not pleased with how he's performed so far this year. He revealed his thoughts about his season to Basque daily Diario de Gipuzkoa some days ago: "It's not been good. My goal was to do a good Paris-Nice, but it didn't go to plan. I started out well in Mallorca, but then I got ill. I got influenza, and had to relax at home for a week. I then went to the Comunitat Valenciana, but I had barely trained because I had to take antibiotics because of a crash. I noticed that my form had dropped, but I was still optimistic I would rediscover my best form in time for Paris-Nice. It wasn't to be though. Therefore I'm not pleased with my start to the season". Haimar went on to outline his lead-up to the Tour, which will consist of the Tour de Romandie and the Dauphiné Libéré. "I won't be in top form in Romandie, but in the Dauphiné I have to be close to peaking. The plan is to arrive in top shape for the Tour de France". His calendar post-Tour is yet to be decided upon, but he doesn't rule out the Vuelta a España if the form is still good. He also spoke of his hopes of one day riding Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but that will have to happen another season...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Amstel line-up

According to www.cyclingstartlists.com, this is the team Euskaltel will send to Sunday's big one-day race in the Netherlands, the Amstel Gold Race: Rubén, Iñigo, Jorge, Jon, Aitor Galdos, Mikel, Iñaki and Juanjo. Mikel will, naturally, be the captain, while Rubén, Iñigo, Aitor and Jon will most probably be on the look-out to join any early breaks. Looks like a potent line-up for sure. Many of these 8 seem to be in good form, though I'm afraid the win will elude the team again as, even though Mikel looks awesome these days, there's a lack of a certain Samu Sánchez.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Markel: "All I want is some luck"

Markel has performed consistently well for the team this season, with his 2nd place in the Paris-Nice prologue as a highlight, but thinks it could all have been so much better if Lady Luck had been on his side. In today's Basque daily El Diario Vasco, he elaborated on the matter: "The word "luck" in an unknown to me. In the Ronde van Vlaanderen I broke my rear wheel. Just after the mechanics had changed it, Baldato ran in to me from behind, causing me to crash. When we reached the Oude Kwaremont, myself and Beñat both crashed. Then it was all over for us. All I want is some luck. I finished Paris-Roubaix rather well, but all kinds of things happened to me before reaching the velodrome. First I broke my bike. The mechanics had never seen anything like it; it was a total mess. Before reaching the Arenberg Forest, the peloton split into several pieces due to the strong echelons. The tension was high. Flecha punctured in front of me, so I jumped onto José Joaquin Rojas' wheel. We were then part of a group five minutes down, including Nuyens, Erviti and Quinziato. Then it got worse. I punctured, but luckily I got a wheel from a Bouygues mechanic. Shortly afterwards I broke my saddle. I ended up riding alone for 15 kilometres, waiting for the next group to come along. I had to change the whole bike, but I stayed with the group I had waited for." He added that he crashed three times in Paris-Nice, but he didn't complain about the equipment though. In fact, he was full of praise for the bikes the team had been equipped with in Roubaix. "The bike was perfect; low air pressure in the wheels, 25 millimetre tubulars, 44 teeth bracket, a double layer of handlebartape and more compact bottle cages." Despite all the misfortune, he should remain optimistic. He admits he's improved physically this season, "but I don't have anything to show for it due to all the bad luck." Well, Markel, it's bound to turn eventually. If he can keep his current form for the remainder of the season, he'll get some results to brag about for sure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mikel gearing up for Ardennes Classics

Mikel today confirmed to el Diario Vasco his upcoming races. He will as expected take part in the Amstel Gold Race, the Fleche Wallonne and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He'll of course lead the team and, considering his great showing in País Vasco, I'm hoping for some top 10s in all these races. After these Classics he'll take some time off to recuperate before returning to competition in the Dauphiné Libéré. Here he'll hone his form for his second season-goal, the Tour de France.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Markel and Juanjo reach velodrome

Two Euskaltel representatives managed to finish today's hellish Paris-Roubaix. Markel came in 71st, 16:48 back, in a group containing names like Hoj, Horillo, Rojas, Haussler, Sutton and Lang, while Juanjo ended up 16:57 down, in 91st place. The rest of the guys abandoned. Koldo pulled out after a crash, but is reported to not have sustained any injuries, except for the normal bruises and all that. The guys were reported to be a bit disillusioned by the weather and the cold, but I understand them. This really isn't the team's favourite cup of tea!

Oh so close for Mikel in Amorebieta

Mikel turned in a great performance in today's GP Primavera, but the win still eludes him time and time again. Today he had the chance to sprint for the win in a group of four but, considering the opposition and his own end-speed, or lack of rather, he ended up 4th. Annoying, but still great race from Mikel. He's been the team's best rider without a doubt so far this season. He just lacks that finishing touch... Egoi and Rubén were also impressive today, with both joining a break with 30 kilometres left to ride. The break formed after the initial break had been caught, and consisted of some top quality riders. Unfortunately they were reeled back in, and Egoi went on to finish 10th, while Rubén faded to 57th. In between was Amets in a good 19th, only 44 seconds down. Dioni ended up six minutes down in 61st place, while Jorge placed 87th, 9 minutes back. The rest of the guys abandoned. A shame that the team are unable to turn strong performances into wins, but sooner or later that has got to change.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Odriozola's verdict

Jon Odriozola was the team's directeur sportif in the Vuelta al País Vasco, a race which ended today. When speaking to the team's website after the race's conclusion, Jon was a happy man: "I'm very proud of the team. We've been the most active and fighting team. We've done all we can to win. The race was very blocked in a way, and we've done more than any other team to change that. Contador has done a great race and is the deserved winner. We came to the last day with Mikel still in contention, and he ended up 6th eventually. I think the fans are pleased with our attitude; we've never given up". Indeed, they never gave in to Astana, or any other team for that matter, so I'm pleased. Are you? Leave comments.

Mikel ends up 6th in País Vasco

The Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco came to a close today in the shape of a 20-kilometre individual time trial in Orio. Mikel did okay to finish 11th, and thus 6th overall. Igor also did okay to come home 27th. He therefore ended up 13th, which must be considered a great result considering his injury. Stage results:

  • 11th, Mikel Astarloza, 1:39
  • 27th, Igor Antón, 2:13
  • 39th, Egoi Martínez, 2:43
  • 60th, Amets Txurruka, 3:30
  • 85th, Jorge Azanza, 4:11
  • 95th, Iván Velasco, 5:19
  • 98th, Iñigo Landaluze, 6:11
  • 99th, Iñaki Isasi, 6:26

Final general classification:

  • 6th, Mikel Astarloza
  • 13th, Igor Antón
  • 43rd, Egoi Martínez
  • 47th, Amets Txurruka
  • 72nd, Jorge Azanza
  • 80th, Iván Velasco
  • 84th, Iñigo Landaluze
  • 88th, Iñaki Isasi

Euskaltel finished 9th in the team classification, while Egoi racked up three(!) different prizes. Of course he won the climber's jersey, which is a great feat. He also won the "most aggressive rider prize", which I predicted, and he also won an "elegancia" prize. What that prize is for I don't know, but it sure sounds good. Amets won the "longest break" prize, while he also won, just like Egoi, a somewhat peculiar prize: the sympathi prize. Again, I have no idea why or what for, but I'm sure he'll be pleased. Mikel won the "best Basque" competition as he ended up a brilliant 6th. Mikel has really looked solid this year. I can't wait for the Tour, where he'll push for a high overall placing this year as well. Considering how he's been racing these first few months, anything's possible. The team as a whole performed admirably, and a stage win would be just reward for their efforts. The win eluded the team again, but there's still a lot to take heart from.

Amorebieta: Igor out, Iñigo in

Igor has been forced to pull out of the team for tomorrow's Klasika de Amorebieta. His achilles injury will, once again, keep him out of action. Iñigo, who looked solid in País Vasco, as well as in Tirreno and San Remo, will take his place. Stay tuned for full post-race report tomorrow.

Amets may pull out

Euskaltel head Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano told the team's website that Amets might not start tomorrow's ultimate stage; a 20-kilometre effort against the clock. Amets, incredibly, hit the deck three times today, so I'll have no problems accepting that. Galdeano raised doubts about his participation tomorrow, but I guess he won't decide upon that until he steps out of bed tomorrow.

Egoi wins mountains jersey

For the second year running, Euskaltel have won the mountains classification in their home race. Egoi secured his win on today's climbs in impressive fashion by once again breaking clear of the pack. He therefore succeeds Aitor Hernández, who won the coveted jersey last year. After much back and forth, with riders trying to break clear left and right, among them Iñaki, Jorge, Amets and Iván, a duo managed to get clear; Egoi and Austrian super-climber Bernhard Kohl. The pair were never allowed too big a gap, and was as expected reeled back in with some 20 kilometres to ride. Nevertheless it was impressive from Egoi; surely he'll win the "most aggressive rider" competition in the race tomorrow.

The real race began when the duo had been caught and the climbing began. Mikel and Igor both looked good. Igor launched two attacks on the climb, but didn't get anywhere, while Mikel tried his luck with a powerful surge with 4 kilometres to go. It wasn't to be for any of them though, as a crash from Herrero inside the last 500 metres ruined their chances for stage victory. Eventually Mikel ended up a very good 9th, at the same time as winner Cunego, while Igor ended up 10th, 20 seconds down. Stage results:

  • 9th, Mikel Astarloza, 0:00
  • 10th, Igor Antón, 0:20
  • 54th, Egoi Martínez, 6:08
  • 56th, Amets Txurruka, 8:24
  • 84th, Jorge Azanza, 21:06
  • 91st, Iñaki Isasi, 30:27
  • 92nd, Iñigo Landaluze, s.t.
  • 98th, Iván Velasco, s.t.

This leaves us with an interesting GC going into the last stage; a 20 kilometre individual time trial:

  • 6th, Mikel Astarloza, 0:08
  • 12th, Igor Antón, 0:28
  • 49th, Egoi Martínez, 9:52
  • 52nd, Amets Txurruka, 11:15
  • 75th, Jorge Azanza, 26:01
  • 86th, Iván Velasco, 32:26
  • 87th, Iñigo Landaluze, 34:50
  • 91st, Iñaki Isasi, 37:20

I reckon Mikel has a really good shot on a podium place overall tomorrow. Okay, Contador's not bad, but 8 seconds in a 20 kilometre ITT is definetely possible. And he should no doubt be able to beat Kirchen, Cunego and Herrero, who are all 8 seconds down on Contador as well. Evans and Dekker will be hard to beat, but Mikel looks to be in peak condition at the moment, so I wouldn't rule that out. Aupa Mikel!

Amorebieta team

Euskaltel will send a very strong team to Sunday's small Spanish classic, the one-day Klasika de Amorebieta. 7 of the riders participating in País Vasco, namely Mikel, Jorge, Igor, Amets, Iván, Egoi and Iñaki, will be there, along with the on-fire Aitor Galdos, the inform Dioni and the rider who was supposed to ride in País Vasco, Rubén. The hilly race is often won by solid all-rounders or climbers, so watch this space.

Friday, April 11, 2008

No luck in Cerami

Euskaltel delivered an unspectacular performance yesterday in the GP Pino Cerami. The riders were never really in the mix, but Juanjo and Markel once again did well to come home with the first peloton, 23rd and 31st respectively. They both looked good in Vlaanderen, and more than solid in Wevelgem, so I expect them to do well in Roubaix on Sunday as well. Beñat and Lander managed to finish the race as well. Beñat ended up 58th, 1:04 down on winner Calcagni, while Lander came in 80th, 5:08 adrift.

Close but no sigar for Amets

Amets came agonizingly close to get at least a top 3 placing on today's fourth stage. The impressive 25-year-old got into the break of the day along with four others, and they almost made it to the line ahead of the pack. They, the trio that was left of the original break that is, were caught with some 50 metres to go, meaning Amets had to make do and mend with a 7th place. It was frustrating stuff, but that's cycling. He looked awesome on the climbs today though. He grabbed enough mountain points to go third in that particular competition, a competition which is still led by Egoi. He almost got dropped on the last climb, but somehow made it back to the leader on a dangerous descent. Amets wasn't the only active Euskaltel rider today though. Jorge and Iván were both in an early three-man move, but that break didn't work out. Egoi tried to go clear after that as well, but he wasn't successful either. But with one road-stage to go he's still in the climber's jersey, so he'll be pleased with his accomplishments so far. Every rider on the team made it in with the peloton, so no big changes to the overall classification for any of them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mikel now 7th overall

It was a fairly quiet day for the team in today's third stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Egoi took another 11 mountains points to add to his impressive tally of 36, and thus further strengthened his hold on the jersey. He also tried to break away after only one kilometre of racing, but it didn't work out this time. A group of 83 crossed the finish-line together eventually, inlcuding 4 from Euskaltel. Mikel placed 13th, Igor 27th, Egoi 37th, and Iván 68th. Amets came in 52 seconds later in 86th place, while Iñaki ended up 90th, 2:11 back. Iñigo came in with a small group 2:24 adrift, while Jorge ended up 104th, 2:56 in arrears. That means that Mikel is now 7th overall, still at 8 seconds from Contador. Igor is 13th, also him just 8 seconds back, while Iván is the third best rider, 68th, 1:59 down.

Koldo in the mix in Wevelgem

Koldo tried to sprint for the win in today's Gent-Wevelgem, but was sadly, like many other top sprinters, boxed in at the wrong time. Eventually he had to settle for 21st. That doesn't look like a really strong result, but he still beat riders like Bozic, McEwen, Usov, Cooke and Balducci, so he wasn't the only rider to mistime his sprint. When it became apparent that he wouldn't win, he sat up and let, at least, a handful of riders pass him. But still I'm pleased with his ride; he showed he can be up there in the big Belgian Classics. Markel and Juanjo also came in with the first group, and they deserve the outmost praise. The pair almost single-handedly brought Koldo back to the first group after the peloton split into several pieces after the last ascent of the infamous Kemmelberg. They brought a 50/60-man strong group back to the pack to help Koldo, but sadly he wasn't able to repay them. But there'll be other races, as always... Alán, Javier, Josu and Beñat all came in with a big group 5 minutes down, while Lander led home the last bunch of riders 10:25 adrift of winner Freire.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mikel feelin' alright

Mikel advanced to 8th overall after today's second stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. After crossing the line, the team captain took a couple of minutes of his time to speak to Euskaltel's website. Here's what he had to say: "It's been a hard stage. On paper it didn't look that hard, but in the Vuelta al País Vasco there are no transition days. I felt good today though. I stayed on the wheels of my teammates all day to minimize the effort and to conserve some energy. In the final part I went to the front, as the finish looked a bit dangerous to me. It took a lot of energy to neutralize Landaluze's break, so nobody had the strength to control the last kilometres. The tension was high, so I decided to go to the front of the pack to avoid the danger and eventual mishaps. It was foreseeable that a crash would happen, and so it proved. Now we have to focus on tomorrow's stage".

Igor doing fine in País Vasco

Igor once again showed his injury isn't hampering him a whole lot today. The rider came in with the main bunch in 37th place, and now occupies a good 14th overall at only 8 seconds from Contador. After the stage he spoke briefly to the team's website: "We got through the day without any problems, something which was the main goal today. The stage was really hard. I didn't think it would be that hard, but the final circuit was terrible. I felt better yesterday, but I'm pleased that I didn't have any problems whatsoever to finish in the first group. Speaking of the tendon injury, it's status quo. Like yesterday, it didn't feel good to begin with, but it soon got better".

Mikel advances to 8th overall as Iñigo tries his luck

It was another fruitful day for the team in País Vasco today. Iñigo was in the break of the day, Egoi kept his mountains jersey and Mikel is now 8th overall. Iñigo was the first rider over all five climbs along the way, and is now second to Egoi in that particular competition. The quartet that broke clear early on in the day was as expected reeled in with some 10 kilometres left to ride. All Euskaltel riders came in with the pack, with Iñaki being the first of those in 10th place. More importantly though, everyone escaped the crash that occured inside the last 200 metres. Mikel showed what a smart and experienced rider he is by predicting that a crash would indeed happen, and as a consequence stayed at the very head of the pack until some 150 metres were left to ride. I was really at a loss to find out what he was doing there, at the front of the peloton in a sprint-finish he would stand no chance of winning. It seemed like a waste of energy at the time, but when I saw the crash, I was in awe of his awareness and knowledge. Impressive! Not only Mikel was impressive; Amets was very active in the hectic final 10 kilometres, trying to escape the bunch. He wasn't successful obviously, but he got to show his form is good.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Igor pleased with first stage

A lot of us were anxious to see what Igor could come up with today after his recent struggles. He impressed though, coming in with the first group, and expressed his delight to the team's website post-stage: "It was a special day considering all that's happened the last 7 days. I was unsure on whether to start the race right up until the last minute, so this was an important day for me. I'm pleased with how it unfolded. I came in with the lead group and felt good all day. I didn't move when Contador attacked, but when Evans and Cunego accelerated, I followed, and I came over the top of the Deskarga feeling good. The tendon annoyed me a bit to begin with, but it didn't take long for the pain to go away. I hope to recover well and to keep on going like this. The truth is that I'm only thinking of the next day and to do what is necessary for the team".

Egoi grabs climber's jersey

Today's Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco opener went well for the team. Egoi got into the break of the day and looked as strong as ever. He was also clearly keen on the climber's jersey, and amassed a massive 24 points underway. He therefore leads that particular competition going into the second stage. The break though wasn't given a big gap, but that wasn't really a surprise as the Astana riders know what Egoi is capable of. Egoi and Mayoz, the former Euskaltel rider, were the last two to get reeled back in by the Astana-led pack with 15 clicks to go. On the last climb of the day, Contador was able to get away and take the win. Behind him, the group of favourites was wittled down to 26 riders, among them Mikel and Igor, in 12th and 17th respectively. This group came in only 8 seconds back. Jorge, Amets, Iván and Iñigo all came in with the same group, 1:59 in arrears, while Egoi ended up 101st, 3:44 down, and Iñaki 108th, 4:42 down. Tomorrow's stage will be another hilly affair, of course, so perhaps Igor and Mikel will be able to snatch a top placing then. Aupa!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Igor in; Rubén out

Igor will take to the start in País Vasco tomorrow after all. This was decided today, as he's feeling a whole lot better now. Rubén, though, will sadly not be able to race. He's been laid low with an influenza, so Iván will get to show what he's worth after all. Full roster: Egoi, Iñigo, Mikel, Igor, Amets, Iñaki, Jorge and Iván.

Discreet Vlaanderen performance

Only two Euskaltel riders finished today's Ronde van Vlaanderen. Juanjo did really well to come in with the third group, alongside the likes of Backstedt, Reynes, Giling, Kopp, Wrolich, Willems, Hoj and Breschel, in 50th place, 9:14 down. He showed himself at the front of the peloton several times before the big-guns got going, and looked good. Impressive debut! Markel was the other rider to finish, coming in 87th, 17:35 in arrears. I've not heard anything about any injuries to the rest, so I assume they're all okay and ready to go for Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday.

País Vasco tactics

Igor is still at a loss to figure out whether he'll take part in the Vuelta al País Vasco tomorrow or not. The climber, with general classification ambitions for the race, has been struggling with a sinew in his achilles since the last stage of the recent Paris-Nice. He did 80 kilometres behind directeur sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia's car yesterday, and is reported to have felt a whole lot better. He'll most probably start, but, as Miguel Madariaga said, it's up to the rider to decide: "It depends on Igor. If he's feeling as good today as he did yesterday, then he's likely to participate. Igor is motivated, and he really wants to race, but we won't force him into anything. If he doesn't feel like racing, we'll find an alternative". That alternative is the in-form Iván Velasco, who's been training with the team these last few days. "He's prepared for it", Madariaga told DEIA. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano seemed more upbeat than Madariaga though when speaking to El Correo Digital yesterday: "He told us he felt good. If he can't feel any pain today, he'll be on the start-line in Legazpia. He's in great form, so it's necessary to take advantage of it." Galdeano went on to describe Contador as the man to beat, and said his own team are underdogs. "We're not the favourites, so we won't take control of the race. We'll be on the attack instead".

Aitor Galdos 9th in GP Induráin

Aitor Galdos continued his strong run of form of late to clinch 9th in the Gran Premio Miguel Induráin today. Aitor came in with a small and strong group only six seconds down on winner Wegmann. But other than that though, it has to be said the race was a disappointment for the team. The race was ranked as one of the season highlights for the team, so, in fairness, I expected a little more. It started good though, with Jorge managing to infiltrate in the break of the day along with two others. The trio built up a handy 6-minute lead, but were as expected reeled back in. At the base of the last climb it was all back together, and Euskaltel were prominent on the front going into the last hill. But when it started most of them faded though. Iván did well to claim 33rd, only 34 seconds back, while Mikel and Egoi ended up 38th and 39th respectively, 41 seconds in arrears. Amets was 69th, 3 minutes down, while Iñaki came in 73rd, another 9 seconds back. The rest of the guys abandoned, and the team finished a lowly 9th in the team classification. Not the best of days, but not a disaster either. There'll be other races, starting tomorrow with Vlaanderen and then on Monday with País Vasco. When it comes to the cobbled classics I'm all smiles as long as nobody gets injured, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Iván on stand-by for País Vasco

It's been revealed that Iván, not Juanjo, will take Igor's place in the País Vasco team if he fails to get fit in time. Iván has been training with the team on the course of the race these last few days, while Igor has been recuperating. If Igor doesn't shake of his injury in time, Iván will line-up alongside Mikel, Egoi, Iñigo, Jorge, Rubén, Amets and Iñaki.

Changes to GP Indurain line-up

For undisclosed reasons, Euskaltel have slightly changed their line-up for the GP Miguel Indurain this coming Saturday. Rubén and Aitor Galdos will replace Igor and Antton (No, that's not Igor Antón; it's Igor Antón and Antton Luengo). I guess Igor dropped out of the team due to his ongoing trouble with his achilles. I guess they don't want to take any chances with him, as a race as hard as the GP Indurain might make it worse. The chances are that he might not even ride País Vasco, so he'll take it as chill as possible the next days. I don't know why Antton had to cancel on the race, but I assume it might have something to do with these "personal issues" of his. Anyway, just hope to see them both back on the bike again soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Igor struggles with achilles injury

Igor, Euskaltel's leader along with Mikel for the upcoming Vuelta al País Vasco, is struggling with an achilles injury these days. He first noticed the pain in his achilles in the Paris-Nice, and has struggled with it ever since. He didn't feel any pain though on Sunday in the GP Llodio, but the pain has come back while training the last few days. This has prompted speculation about his participation in the Vuelta al País Vasco, but Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is confident Igor will take to the start in Legazpia on Monday. Time will tell, but it looks like the odds are favouring him luckily.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Euskaltel to race Pino Cerami

Euskaltel will, as has become tradiotion the last few years, race the Belgian 1.1 ranked GP Pino Cerami. The race takes place the day after Gent-Wevelgem, and will see the same 8 Euskaltel riders in action. Josu, Alán, Koldo, Andoni, Markel, Beñat, Javier and Lander will line-up in all three cobbled classics, along with Cerami. The team has come close to winning the race the last two years, so hopefully this year it'll be a case of third-time luck.


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