Two weeks in, Euskaltel are yet to put a real mark on the Giro d'Italia. But with the mountains (finally) coming up, the man in the team car, former pro Álvaro González de Galdeano, is quietly optimistic. And with a relatively clean bill of health, there's hardly a reason not to.
"So far, we've worked to get in the breaks and being protagonists. After a slightly hesitant start, in which we didn't do too well in the time trials, we've improved and been active. All in all I'm satisfied with the first two weeks", he told the team's website, www.fundacioneuskadi.com.
"There's been 11 road stages and, unsurprisingly, we've been in breaks on six of those. Minguez, Cazaux, Sáez and Txurruka have all been up the road, and Velasco's recovery from his stage ten crash makes me believe we'll be strong in the final week and able to help out Nieve. Oroz and Izagirre's work for Nieve makes us confident".
Looking forward to the two mountainous stages coming up tomorrow and on Sunday, Galdeano believes the weather may play a decisive role in deciding the outcome.
"The cold may turn out to be a key factor, as temperatures aren't expected to be much higher than freezing point. This might result in a more "compact" race, and will further complicate the stages", he warned.
"Tomorrow's stage includes two long climbs and a summit finish. First you climb 20 clicks, then a quick descent, and then another 27 kilometres. It's a litmus test for the GC aspirants. We'll try to be as close to the front as possible."