French cycling website Velo-Club yesterday revealed Euskatel's pre-selection for the Tour de France. The reliable site claims that 14 riders are in the running for nine places.
Here are the candidates: Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Gorka Izagirre, Egoi Martínez, Mikel Nieve, Juan José Oroz, Alan Pérez, Rubén Pérez, Samuel Sánchez, Romain Sicard, Amets Txurruka, Pablo Urtasun, Iván Velasco and Gorka Verdugo.
Judging by comments made earlier this year by Gerrikagoitia, Madariaga et al., it seems to be set in stone that the following riders line up: Astarloza, Izagirre, Martínez, R Pérez, Sánchez and Verdugo. No surprises there. So that basically leaves three places up for grabs.
I can hardly see the Giro riders (Nieve, Txurruka, Velasco, Oroz) line up, but then again A Pérez and Sicard have woefully struggled for form this year and really need to step up their game if they are to land a ticket to France - thus opening the door for the riders in Italy. Azanza, who took part in País Vasco but is not racing in Italy, looks a decent bet for a spot on the team, but experienced campaigners like Oroz and Velasco shouldn't be discounted either I reckon.
Who would you like to see represent Euskaltel in July?