donderdag 28 februari 2008

Valenciana 3 : Goka 7th after catastrophe

The third race in the Tour of Valenciana became a real catastrophe. Euskaltel was doing a good job. Ruben Perez was active on the first climb and Markel Irizar was part of an early breakaway. But nine kilometres before the finish Ruben Plaza and Manuel Vazquez were alone in front but the chasing peloton was lead to the wrong way so they didn't have a chance to get the break back in. For Gorka this wasn't a real catastrophe, he came in 16 seconds behind and is 4th in the general rank, but Haimar Zubeldia and Ruben Perez came in 2:25 minutes, so they don't have a chance in the general rank anymore.
1 Manuel Váquez (Spa) Contentpolis - Murcia 4.08.49 (40.15 km/h)
2 Rubén Plaza (Spa) Benfica ST
3 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom +0.16
7. Gorka Verdugo +0:16
28. Ruben Perez +2:25
37. Haimar Zubeldia +2:25
51. Markel Irizar +10:54
70. Juan Jose Oroz +16:48
107. Beñat Albizuri +26:16
114. Andoni Lafuente +26:16
130. Alan Perez +26:16

woensdag 27 februari 2008

Valencia 2 : Oroz in break, Gorka 9th

Today the riders got another hilly stage with 5 mountains of third category in the Tour of Valenciana. For Euskaltel it was Juan Jose Oroz who defended the orange colors. He was in the early breakaway with two others and they stayed in front until 8 kilometres before the finish. In the sprint with a small peloton Gorka Verdugo placed himself once again good with an 9th place. He's now third in the general ranks. Also Ruben Perez placed himself good with an 11th place.

1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 4.31.22 (39.356 km/h)
2 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre ST
3 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis ST
9. Gorka Verdugo ST
11. Ruben Perez ST
41. Haimar Zubeldia ST
49. Markel Irizar +0:08
89. Alan Perez +0:13
118. Juan Jose Oroz +5:06
126. Andoni Lafuente +6.22
131. Beñat Albizuri +9:39

dinsdag 26 februari 2008

Valenciana 1 : Gorka in great shape

It wasn't Haimar nor Ruben Perez that made Euskaltels day today, but it was Gorka Verdugo ! First he got in the break of the day, he took alot of points for the mountain classification and some bonus seconds for the general rank but it wasn't good enough to stay in front. In the end sprint with a groupe 24 he sprinted to a good 10th place. He's now 5th in the general rank. Also Haimar came in with the first ones, on an 18th place.

1 Iván Gutiérrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 3.46.59 (41.5 km/h)
2 Rubén Plaza (Spa) Benfica ST
3 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom ST
10. Gorka Verdugo ST
18. Haimar Zubeldia ST
40. Ruben Perez +1.33
42. Alan Perez +1.33
46. Markel Irizar +1.33
53. Juan Jose Oroz +1.33
121. Andoni Lafuente +12.25
128. Beñat Albizuri +12.25

maandag 25 februari 2008

Haimar leader Valenciana team

Haimar will lead the Euskaltel team in the upcoming Tour of Valenciana. He will lead a good team with Gorka Verdugo, Andoni Lafuente, Markel Irizar, Juan Jose Oroz, Beñat Albizuri, Alan Perez and Ruben Perez. Seeing his good shape in the Vuelta de Mallorca he should be able to get a good place in the general rank and maybe a victory.

zondag 24 februari 2008

Mikel in 6 hours of Euskadi

Mikel Astarloza competed in the 6 days of Euskadi and together with Marco Vila he did a pretty good job. They became second after starduo Risi-Marvulli. Here are some pictures of Mikel during the event.

zaterdag 23 februari 2008

Mikel on Track

Because Euskaltel didn't get a first victory in Australia, nor in Andalucia, Mikel Astarloza decided to try something else and win something. He will, just like last year, participate on the track in the Six hours of Euskadi in San Sebastian. There he will team up with specialist Marco Villa. Hopefully Mikel will stay with the road after this, but that won't be a problem I think :P Though it's a great thing to get more speed.

donderdag 21 februari 2008

Andalucia 5 : Aitor 7, Mikel 4 in General

Despite all the efforts the Euskaltel riders have put in the races, they will have to leave the Ruta del Sol without a victory. Today it was a normal sprint stage with an early break that Jon just didn't make. But the sprinterteams took them back and in the sprint Alessandro Petacchi took his third victory in a row before the promising french sprinter Flahaut and Siedler. Aitor came in 7th, he seems in a good shape but he always fails to get in the higher ranks, maybe we will get to see something more in the next races. In general the whole team looks strong and especially Mikel who took a fourth place overall. Josu Agirre seems to have some problems adjusting to the pace but this will come with the time.

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 3.49.20 (40,55 km/h)
2 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Saunier Duval - Scott ST
3 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Skil-Shimano ST
7. Aitor Galdos ST
22. Mikel Astarloza ST
38. Jorge Azanza ST
42. Dioni Galparsoro ST
43. Jon Bru ST
59. Josu Agirre +0:13
66. Igor Anton +0:30

General Rank
1 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 20.33.15
2 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra) Skil-Shimano + 0.48
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto +1.32
4. Mikel Astarloza +1:36
23. Igor Anton +6:56
33. Jorge Azanza +9:24
42. Aitor Galdos +20:12
45. Dionisio Galparsoro +20:19
47. Jon Bru +20:49
69. Josu Agirre +33:00

Andalucia 4 : Aitor 6th, Dioni in Break

The fourth stage of the Ruta del Sol was an exciting one because Dioni Galparsoro came close to a victory (or atleast a very good rank). Because together with four others he was in the break of the day and they didn't get realed back in until 1,5km. Then the sprinters came and Petacchi took his second victory in a row. Aitor placed himself good on a nice 6th place. Mikel is still 4th in the general rank.

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 4.18.46 (40.113 km/h)
2 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop
3 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Skil-Shimano
6. Aitor Galdos ST
20. Mikel Astarloza ST
32. Dionisio Galparsoro ST
34. Igor Anton ST
36. Jorge Azanza ST
46. Jon Bru +0:15
59. Josu Agirre +0:23

woensdag 20 februari 2008

The third stage of the Vuelta de Andalucia was once again a hilly one. But despite the five hills the're were no huge differences at the end. A group of twenty five came in together with among them Mikel on the 9th place; Aitor on the 10th and Dionisio 23th. The stage was one by Alessandro Petacchi before Visconti and Ricco.

In the general rank Mikel Astarloza is now fourth, 1:36 down on Lastras.

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 4.29.37 (38.721 km/h)
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quickstep ST
3 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Scott ST
9. Mikel Astarloza ST
10. Aitor Galdos ST
23. Dionisio Galparsoro ST
28. Jon Bru +0:15
33. Igor Anton +0:49
47. Jorge Azanza +1:56
69. Josu Agirre +7.12

maandag 18 februari 2008

Andalucia 2 : Mikel second !!!

It was once again a rainy stage in the Vuelta de Andalucia but today it was Mikel Astarloza's turn to steal the show. Early in the race a groupe of sixteen riders left for an escape of 160km. On the last climb it was Cadel Evans that took off and thanx to his teammates nobody else could threaten him. Mikel Astarloza was the one who managed to stay the closest, he finished second with 4 seconds. Mikel is now fourth in the general rank 2:27 down on Lhotellerie. Iban Mayoz wants again a place with Euskaltel because he's prooving that he's worth it, he became 10th today.

1. Cadel Evans Silence-Lotto 4:47:31
2. Mikel Astarloza Euskaltel-Euskadi +0:04
3. Juan Manuel Garate Quick Step +0:09
26. Igor Anton +04:05
35. Jorge Azanza +05:56
55. Jon Bru +18:47
64. Aitor Galdos +18:47
65. Dionisio Galparsoro +18:47
69. Josu Agirre +18:54

zondag 17 februari 2008

Andalucia 1 : Galdos 5th

The first stage of the Vuelta Andalucia or Ruta del Sol was a very rainy one and it seemed that the riders didn't have much drive to ride. Three riders escaped and at the end it went between Lopez Gil and Lhotellerie, and the first one on. The peloton sprinted for the fourth place and Aitor Galdos became nice 5th. He keeps getting better and better so maybe a victory is in the air. Also Dionisio placed himself in the top 20 with a good 16th place.

1. Jose Lopz Gil Andalucia 3:05:55
2. Clement Lhotellerie Skil +0:09
3. Pablo Lastras Caisse +1:51
5. Aitor Galdos +3:31
16. Dionisio Galparsoro +3:38
28. Jorge Azanza +3:38
29. Igor Anton +3:38
32. Jon Bru +3:38
35. Mikel Astarloza +3:38
76. Josu Agirre +8:24

Anton about Ruta del Sol

Today Euskaltel-Euskadi will take part in the Vuelta a Andalucia or Ruta del Sol. Igor Anton will make his seasons debut here and this is what he had to say about it. Anton : "I go without any pressure and with the intention to make kilometres but I'm a bit nervous. Since I started cycling the first race is always a bit scary. Im still not 100%, that should come in the Tour of the Basque Country. Meanwhile I have to work every day to see how things are improving."

donderdag 14 februari 2008

Mallorca 5 : Haimar 10th, 3rd in General

It was the final day of the Vuelta a Mallorca and the Euskaltel riders put their best leg forward once again. Especially Haimar did a great job. He took a good 10th stage and by this result he maintained his third spot in the general rank. Ruben Perez ended just behind Haimar on a 11th place. Jon Bru once again placed himself in the top 20, 18th, and he finished 5 in the general rank. With Gorka ending 12th Euskaltel should have won the team classification but due to one weird reason they didn't :X

1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step 3.55.23 (37.624 km/h)
2 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana ST
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne ST
10. Haimar Zubeldia +0:02
11. Ruben Perez +0:02
18. Jon Bru +0:07
28. Gorka Verdugo +0:07
39. Javier Aramendia +0:15
44. Iñigo Landaluze +0:15
46. Ivan Velasco +0:15
58. Lander Aperribay +0:20

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux 18.17.37
2 Aitor Perez (Spa) Extremadura-Ciclismo-Solidario ST
3 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi +0.03
5. Jon Bru +0:08
12. Gorka Verdugo +0:08

Trofeo Soler : Haimar 3rd in General

Euskaltel has had a quiet day in the Trofeo Soler. Nobody in the breakaway and nobody attacked, but instead they waited for the sprint. And it was worth it ! Aitor sprinted to a great 5th place, Haimar placed himself in the top 10 with a 9th place, Jon became 12th and Beñat 14. Due to this great results Haimar became third in the General Rank, and Jon and Beñat kept their great 5th and 6th place.

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux 4.24.17 (36.87 km/h)
2 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank ST
3 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step ST
5. Aitor Galdos ST
9. Haimar Zubeldia ST
12. Jon Bru ST
14. Beñat Albizuri ST
53. Gorka Verdugo ST
54. Andoni Lafuente ST
64. Iñigo Landaluze ST
89. Josu Agirre +12:18

woensdag 13 februari 2008

Euskaltel present in Paris-Nice

The ASO has announced that Euskaltel-Euskadi will be present at the Paris-Nice race 2008. They get an invitation just like all the other Protour teams, except for Astana that falls out of the boat once again. The wildcards went to Agritubel, Skil Shimano and Slipstream.

I don't have a line-up yet, but I hope it will come quickly.

dinsdag 12 februari 2008

Trofeo Pollença : Beñat 7th

It was another good day for Euskaltel in the Vuelta a Mallorca, some of the boys are realy in good shape. First we had Iñigo Landaluze and Ivan Velasco in the escape and when they were caught Landaluze decided that he wanted a second escape and so he did with four other guys. But 22 km before the end they also got caught. Then Euskaltel wanted to prevent a sprint so they start leading the peloton at a great pace, resulting in Ruben Perez and Javier Aramendia taking points in the last intermediate sprint. But the efforts didn't work out, it became a sprint and it was won by Jose Joaquin Rojas. Aitor Galdos didn't ride today so it was up to Beñat Albizuri and he did a great job ending 7th. Once again Haimar and Jon placed themselves in the top20 too with a 13th and 15th spot. Due to this results Euskaltel is first in the general team classifications with Haimar 4th, Jon 5th and Beñat 6th all in 3 seconds from the leader, Gilbert. Thanx to Arnout we now also know that Haimar attacked in the last kilometres but sadly enough failed. Way to go (y)

1. Jose Joaquin Rojas Caisse d'Epargne 4:00:59
2. Giovanni Viscont Quick Step ST
3. Philippe Gilbert FDJ ST
7. Beñat Albizuri ST
13. Haimar Zubeldia ST
15. Jon Bru ST
28. Gorka Verdugo ST
29. Javier Aramendia ST
38. Ruben Perez ST
48. Iñigo Landaluze ST
56. Ivan Velasco +0:26
87. Lander Aperribay +11:57
88. Josu Agirre +11:57

maandag 11 februari 2008

Cala Millor : Galdos 8th, Txurruka out

It was a mixed day for Euskaltel in the second stage of the Vuelta a Mallorca in Cala-Millor. First we had Andoni Lafuente in the escape and he took some points at the intermediate sprint. The peleton took them again but at the end a bunch of 8 sprinted for the victory. In this bunch was Aitor Galdos, but he finished last. Two other good performances from Jon Bru 12th and Haimar Zubeldia 13th. The bad news now : Amets Txurruka fell at kilometre 85 and he broke his collarbone. This can cause that Amets will miss the first months of the season, hopefully he will get back for the Tour de France.

1. Graeme Brown Rabobank 3:53:52
2. Denis Flahaut Saunier Duval ST
3. Gert Steegmans Quick Step ST
8. Aitor Galdos ST
12. Jon Bru +0:03
13. Haimar Zubeldia +0:03
34. Ruben Perez +0:03
38. Beñat Albizuri +0:03
48. Gorka Verdugo +0:03
92. Aitor Hernandez +0:20
121. Ivan Velasco +0:39
152. Andoni Lafuente +2:46

Mallorca : Aitor 14, Javier 15, Beñat 17

Euskaltel made a good debut in its first race of the season in Europe. But it was the Belgian Philippe Gilbert who stole the show by escaping in the last two kilometres. The peloton came too late and sprinted for the second place. Brown took it in front of Förster and Steegmans. For Euskaltel Aitor Galdos took an ok 14th place but apparently Javier Aramendia sprinted too and he became 15th + he got some points in the intermediate sprints. Also Beñat Albizuri ended in the top20 with a good 17th spot. One bad thing though, Ivan Velasco crashed in the last kilometres but everything is ok now.

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise des Jeux 2.03.04 (48.75 km/h)
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank ST
3 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner ST
14. Aitor Galdos ST
15. Javier Aramendia ST
17. Beñat Albizuri ST
33. Haimar Zubeldia ST
34. Jon Bru ST
36. Gorka Verdugo ST
72. Lander Aperribay ST
88. Andoni Lafuente ST
104. Aitor Hernandez ST
158. Ivan Velasco +1.35

zondag 10 februari 2008

Pictures from trainings camp

Here are some pictures from the trainings camp this week. It looks like it was a very luxurious one, seeing the nice hotel. There was also a lot of media attention.

Interview Josu Agirre

Today you can read an interview with Josu Agirre in Gara and because I have some time today, I will try to translate it :D

How do you feel right before your opening in the jersey of Euskaltel ?
My dream came true when they called me for their team and I strongly desire to make my debut. I'm better than last year but I still have to improve a lot. But I will go and try to help Velasco, Bru and Galdos. It will be necessary to get into an escape and keep an eye on those guys.
You have rode in Mallorca with Orbea already, is it different with Euskaltel ?
The responsibility is the same but it's a protour equipment and that gives more motivation and your name will sound much stronger.
You ride three (smaller) tours and then you will ride the Giro
It's a very pretty calender. I hope the weather is good because I do better when it's hot. The Giro motivates me because I did a stage with LPR and I have always like Italy, its races and the food.
How was the first meeting with Euskaltel ?
I already knew some riders from Orbea and of course the fans supported me. It's a good atmosphere and it's all very organized. Every day the program is well structured, it's better than in a small equipment.
You got the opportunity when it was almost time to start fearing.
With 26 years it was or getting a great opportunity or quitting and things turned out great for me. I hope I can stay in the team for next year because that means I responded good to what the team wants from me. I hope I also will continue loving to ride the bike.
What are your goals for this season ?
I came to the equipment to get some victories. I won the time trial in the Vuelta a Madrid and was the leader for 4 days. Last year I didn't do that good in the trials because I had some problems with my back.

zaterdag 9 februari 2008

Schedule Haimar, Samuel & Igor

The big three of Euskaltel : Haimar Zubeldia, Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton revealed their schedules for 2008 in todays Gara. Haimar will ride Mallorca, Valenciana, Catalunya, Dauphine and the Tour de France. Samuel will ride Murcia, Castilla y Leon, Asturias, Catalunya, Dauphine, Tour de France. And Igor Anton will ride Andalucia, Paris Nice, Llodio, Miguel Indurain, Pais Vasco, Klasika Primavera, Romandy, Catalunya, Euskal Bizikleta, Ordizia, Getxo, Burgos and Vuelta España. Especially for Igor this looks like a though schedule. I'm kinda sad that none of them comes to Belgium (Liege-Bastogne-Liege,...) :(

vrijdag 8 februari 2008

Euskaltel 2008 in International Magazines

Yesterday I was in Antwerp and I discovered a little shop with 8000 magazines. So of course I went straight for the cycling magazines and discovered three international (1 from France and 2 from the UK) magazines. They all dedicated this edition to the new teams so I will post what they had to say about Euskaltel

1. ProCycling
Last year : Gonzalez de Galdeano has every right to be pleased about last year, given the team is limited to Basque riders or those linked to the region. While the highlights were Sanchez's three wins and third place in the Vuelta, Zubeldia and Astarloza top10 at the Tour, where Txurruka's most aggressive rider award got the team there on the podium for the first time, leaving the ghost of Iban Mayo to rest.
Prognosis : Their Classics hopes may still rest on what Sanchez can conjure up on his own in the Ardennes, but they'll be fiercely competitive in those races that matter to them (Tour, Vuelta, Basque Country)
Bubbling under : Igor Anton and Koldo Fernandez
Needs a Result : Haimar Zubeldia

2. CycleSport
Last year : A lean year for wins. Koldo Fernandez won a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, Igor Anton took one in the Tour of Romandy, Samuel Sanchez skipped the Tour but won stages in the Tour of the Basque Country, Catalonia and then three in the Vuelta.
New in 2008 : Very little, the signing of Egoi Martinez from Discovery Channel could turn out to be a fine one
Major Target :Sanchez wants to ride the Tour de France and get as high as possible on the GC, Zubeldia wants to win the Tour of the Basque Country and get a podium spot in the Vuelta, Txurruka wants the white jersey in the tour.
And they end with a picture of Gorka Verdugo with the name Haimar Zubeldia next to him :P

3. Planete Cyclisme
Last year : Without great victories, we have seen the Basques a lot in the small, medium and big races. But they have to aim higher.
Next year : Protour : ****, Classics : ****, Big Tours : ***

Euskaltel line-up trivia

Euskaltel announced on their site a lot of new and interesting things about the 2008 season. Haimar Zubeldia will be the leader for Paris-Nice, while Amets Txurruka will get the first spot in the Tirreno Adriatico. Eight names are almost sure for the Giro in may, these are Josu Agirre, Alan Perez, Koldo Fernandez, Dionisio Galparsoro, Juan Jose Oroz, Aitor Hernandez and Iñigo Landaluze. Koldo will also ride the Vuelta. Egoi will probably ride both Tour and Vuelta, but Haimar and Mikel will see of the Vuelta fits in their plans.

maandag 4 februari 2008

Vuelta a Andalucia-Ruta del Sol Line-up

Euskaltel will send a strong team to the Vuelta a Andalucia, although I don't think their two strongest men, Igor Anton and Mikel Astarloza, will show everything they got because they have to prepare for Tour/Vuelta. For the sprints there will be Aitor Galdos and maybe Josu Agirre. Azanza, Bru and Galparsoro will probably try to escape or help the others.

zondag 3 februari 2008

Interview Igor & Amets

In todays El Correo you can find an interesting interview with youngsters Igor Anton and Amets Txurruka. They talk about their youth with Euskaltel and their first Tour de France. You can read it here

zaterdag 2 februari 2008

Dioni, Iñigo and Koldo for Giro

The noticias de Alava have announced that Iñigo Landaluze, Koldo Fernandez and Dionisio Galparsoro will be Euskaltels protected riders in the next Giro d'Italia. This is another good sign that Euskaltel will ride the Giro.

vrijdag 1 februari 2008

Euskaltel invited for Giro d'Italia

Today the invitations were send for the Giro d'Italia 2008 and Euskaltel got one ! This might seem like a logical thing but when you know that teams like Astana, High Roads, Credit Agricole, Bouygues Telecom and Acqua & Sapone didn't get an invitation so I'm very happy with it. I think this still doesn't mean that Euskaltel will ride the Giro but it's a good sign.

Vuelta a Mallorca

Euskaltel will send 14 riders to the Vuelta a Mallorca. Of course they all don't have to race the 5 challenges, but of course I wouldn't mind :P It will be Josu Agirre's first race for Euskaltel and together with Beñat Albizuri, Javier Aramendia, Jon Bru, Aitor Galdos, Aitor Hernandez, Markel Irizar, Haimar Zubeldia, Andoni Lafuente, Iñigo Landaluze, Ruben Perez, Amets Txurruka, Ivan Velasco and Gorka Verdugo they will make a strong team.