maandag 31 maart 2008

Llodio : Aitor 3rd, Koldo 4th, Dioni 6th

It was a rainy day in the Grand Prix of Llodio, but despite the weather Euskaltel has shown a great performance. There was an early break with Zaballa and Tondo but the peloton managed to get back. It seemed like for the first time in years that there would be a sprint. This was not how Hector Guerra wanted it and he broke away from the peloton and won the race with one minute of advantage before a small groupe. This groupe sprinted for the second place and it was Rojas who took it, before Aitor Galdos and Koldo Fernandez. Dioni and Igor were in the same groupe, they finished 6th and 14th.

1. Hector Guerra Liberty Seguros 4:11:57
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas Caisse d'Epargne +1:01
3. Aitor Galdos Euskaltel ST
4. Koldo Fernandez ST
6. Dioni Galparsoro ST
14. Igor Anton ST
48. Ruben Perez +6:06

zondag 30 maart 2008

Criterium International 3 : Mikel 11th in General

In the last challenge of the Criterium International, a time-trial, Mikel Astarloza managed to climb up in the general rank and became 11th. At the first check-point he was 11th, but then he fell a little back and crossed the line on an 21th place. The time-trial has been won by the strong and young guy from Norway Edvald Boassen Hagen. He won it 7 seconds before Tony Martin and 13 before Gustav Larsson. Egoi Martinez disappointed with a 68th place and dropped down to a 20th place in the general rank.

1. Edvald Boassen Hagen High Road 10:16
2. Tony Martin High Road +0:07
3. Gustav Larsson Team CSC +0:13
21. Mikel Astarloza +0:32
41. Aitor Hernandez +0:51
68. Egoi Martinez +1:05
70. Jorge Azanza +1:07
76. Josu Agirre +1:13
93. Iñigo Landaluze +1:31
104. Ivan Velasco +1:43

End Ranking
1. Jens Voigt Team CSC 7:29:01
2. Gustav Larsson Team CSC +0:57
3. Luis Leon Sanchez Caisse d'Epargne +0:57
11. Mikel Astarloza +1:20
20. Egoi Martinez +1:53
42. Jorge Azanza +8:43
48. Iñigo Landaluze +9:22
53. Ivan Velasco +10:30
90. Aitor Hernandez +15:37
104. Josu Agirre +20:49

Criterium International 2 : Mikel 16th

In the second stage of the Criterium International Mikel Astarloza and Egoi Martinez managed to stay in front of the peloton. Egoi Martinez has been in an early breakaway but they didn't stay in front. Jens Voigt and Simon Gerrans made the race today and they sprinted for the victory. At 300 metres Gerrans sprinted away and took the victory. Mikel became 16th in the next groupe at 1:43 and is now 15th in the general rank. Egoi Martinez became 17th in the same time as Mikel and is now 12th in the general rank. Later today the time trial will be held and maybe Mikel and Egoi can raise some spots in the general rank.

1. Simon Gerrans Credit Agricole 2:27:36
2. Jens Voigt Team CSC +0:04
3. Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne +1:39
16. Mikel Astarloza +1:43
17. Egoi Martinez +1:43
32. Jorge Azanza +1:50
37. Iñigo Landaluze +2:05
46. Ivan Velasco +3:01
93. Josu Agirre +8:01
118. Aitor Hernandez +9:00

General Rank
1. Jens Voigt Team CSC 7:17:53
2. Laurens Ten Dam Rabobank +1:14
3. Benoit Vaugrenard FDJ +1:30
12. Egoi Martinez +1:40
15. Mikel Astarloza +1:40
42. Jorge Azanza +8:28
45. Iñigo Landaluze +8:43
54. Ivan Velasco +9:39
98. Aitor Hernandez +15:38
109. Josu Agirre +20:28

Criterium International 1 : Egoi 8th

The first stage of the Criterium International 2008 went good for Euskaltel. During the race the peloton split in to groupes, but luckily Euskaltel's two favourites Egoi Martinez and Mikel Astarloza were part of it. Laurens Ten Dam has been in front of the race the whole day and managed to finish alone in front of the peloton 10 seconds before Benoit Vaugrenard. Egoi Martinez finished in the same time 8th, Mikel Astarloza 28th. Antton Luengo was the only Euskaltel rider who didn't make the finish, he abandoned but there was no reason given out. I hope it's not those personal questions again :(

1. Laurens Ten Dam Rabobank 4:50:04
2. Benoit Vaugrenard FDJ +0:10
3. Mirco Lorenzetto Lampre +0:10
8. Egoi Martinez +0:10
28. Mikel Astarloza +0:10
41. Aitor Hernandez +6:51
52. Jorge Azanza +6:51
57. Iñigo Landaluze +6:51
60. Ivan Velasco +6:51
134. Josu Agirre +12:40

zaterdag 29 maart 2008

Line-up Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Next week one of the most important races for Euskaltel will be held in the Basque Country, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Euskaltel will send a very strong team, lead by Igor Anton and Mikel Astarloza. The others that will probably go for a stage win are Iñigo Landaluze, Egoi Martinez, Jorge Azanza, Ruben Perez, Iñaki Isasi and Amets Txurruka.

Castilla y Leon 5 : KOLDO WINS !!!!!

Koldo did it again !!! He won the last stage of the vuelta a Castilla y Leon and puts the counter on two for Euskaltel. He won in the sprint before Thomas Dekker and Francisco Ventoso. But he wasn't the only Euskaltel rider who was active today. First Iñaki Isasi tried to get in a break, but that didn't work out. On the third climb Samuel once again got in a break together with Salgueiro, Zandio, Gonzalez and Mccartney. In the ascent of that climb Samuel and Zandio took off. Samuel tried to get back into the general rank but the peloton was at a great pace so it didn't work out. Samu came in lat, 7 minutes down but he probably did everything he could in his attack.

1 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3.58.28 (39.754 km/h)
2 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
3 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur
16. Iñaki Isasi ST
40. Amets Txurruka ST
70. Markel Irizar +2:55
85. Dioni Galparsoro +2:55
105. Jon Bru +6:55
112. Samuel Sanchez +7:06

General Rank
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 15.57.37
2 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.39
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.46
31. Iñaki Isasi +3:16
35. Amets Txurruka +3:37
61. Koldo Fernandez +8:27
66. Markel Irizar +9:02
73. Dioni Galparsoro +11:00
76. Samuel Sanchez +12:02
86. Jon Bru +12:51

vrijdag 28 maart 2008

Line-up Tour of Flandres

Last but not least I also have the line-up for the Tour of Flandres, and this is the most important one because I'm going, crutches or not ! And the great thing is that I haven't met any of the 8 riders yet. The team will consist of Josu Agirre, Lander Aperribay, Javier Aramendia, Koldo Fernandez, Markel Irizar, Andoni Lafuente, Juan Jose Oroz and Alan Perez. Hopefully one of them will be able to maintain a spot in the top 20, that would be a good result.

Line-up GP Miguel Indurain

It's line-up day today. We also got the line-up for the Grand Prix of Miguel Indurain in Navarra next week. The team will probably be lead by Igor Anton, Mikel Astarloza and Amets Txurruka. The others are Jorge Azanza, Jon Bru, Dioni Galparsoro, Iñaki Isasi, Anton Luengo, Egoi Martinez and Ivan Velasco.

Line-Up Llodio

This sunday the Grand Prix of Llodio will be held in the Basque Country and of course Euskaltel will send a strong team. It's a balanced team with some good sprinters like Koldo Fernandez, Iñaki Isasi and Beñat Albizuri and some climbers like Igor Anton and Amets Txurruka. The other places are for Javier Aramendia, Lander Aperribay, Jon Bru, Markel Irizar and Andoni Lafuente.

Line-up Criterium International

Euskaltel will be present at the Criterium International in France tomorrow. Mikel Astarloza will probably be the leader in this two day, but three stages race, seeing his time trial skills. Others to watch will be Egoi Martinez and Iñigo Landaluze who already did some great stuff in Italy last week. The rest of the team will be Ivan Velasco, Jorge Azanza, Anton Luengo, Aitor Hernandez and Josu Agirre.

Castilla y Leon : Dioni in break

Euskalteltel and especially Samuel Sanchez didn't live up to the expectations for the queens stage in the vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Amets Txurruka was the first Euskaltel rider to cross the finish on a 27th place, 1:56 down on Alberto Contador who's really showing that he deserves a spot in the Tour de France. One point of light was Dioni Galparsoro who got in the break of the day, but because he had a good general rank, he and his three other companions never got more than four minutes and got reeled back in before the last climb of the day. Samu came in on a 69th place, 4:37 down. Maybe we should be a bit happy with this, seeing that he shouldn't be on top level yet.

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 3.54.17 (41,181 km/h)
2 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.11
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.33
27. Amets Txurruka +1:56
40. Iñaki Isasi +2:33
55. Jon Bru +4:01
68. Markel Irizar +4:37
69. Samuel Sanchez +4:37
85. Dioni Galparsoro +7:21
86. Koldo Fernandez +7:21

General rank
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 11.59.09
2 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.39
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.46
31. Iñaki Isasi +3:16
37. Amets Txurruka +3:37
50. Samuel Sanchez +4:56
63. Jon Bru +5:56
64. Markel Irizar +6:07
74. Dioni Galparsoro +8:05
78. Koldo Fernandez +8:27

woensdag 26 maart 2008

Castilla y Leon 2 : Samu 2nd

Samuel Sanchez keeps on showing great form in the vuelta a Castilla y Leon. in an uphill sprint he managed to get a fantastic second spot after sprinter Ventoso. It seemed for a while that he would win but when Ventoso started his sprint, Samu didn't have an answer. It wasn't only Sanchez that did great for Euskaltel. Also Koldo placed himself great on a 6th place and Bru on an 8th place. With these three great results Euskaltel of course won the team classification. Samuel is now 4th in the general rank.

1 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Andalucía 4.22.54 (36.493 km/h)
2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
3 Edgar Pinto (Por) Benfica
6. Koldo Fernandez ST
8. Jon Bru ST
29. Iñaki Isasi ST
59. Amets Txurruka ST
64. Markel Irizar ST
65. Dioni Galparsoro ST

Castilla y Leon : Samu almost wins

The second stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon ended in the mythical place of Avila, finish of some great stages in the Vuelta. And of course we got to see a spectacle once again. Especially Samuel Sanchez was active and showed great form as he put in a promising attack in the streets of Avila, but with too many flat metres to go after the climb, he was reeled in by the peloton and overtaken in the last kilometre. It became a sprint with a small groupe and a remarkable result, three dutch guys on the podium. Karsten Kroon, Thomas Dekker and Bauke Mollema. Samuel became 18th in the main groupe together with Koldo on a 20th spot, Dioni on 27th and Iñaki on 39th.

1 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC 3.30.19 (40.425 km/h)
2 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
18. Samuel Sanchez ST
20. Koldo Fernandez ST
27. Dioni Galparsoro ST
39. Iñaki Isasi ST
78. Markel Irizar +0:29
79. Amets Txurruka +0:29
83. Jon Bru +0:29

maandag 24 maart 2008

Castilla y Leon : Samuel 5th in prologue

Samuel Sanchez did a great job in the prologue of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. He became 5th with a time of 11.58 over a 9.7 km long time trial. With this time he was only 19 seconds slower than Alberto Contador, who won the prologue in a time of 11.39. Iñaki Isasi did a good job too, for Euskaltel-standards. He became 28th, 43 seconds behind Contador, just one second behind Dioni Galparsoro on the 30th place. Markel Irizar disappointed with a 60th place. Of course Samuel is now 5th in the general ranking and I hope he can compete for the victory in one of the next stages, but he's still training for the Tour de France, keep that in mind !

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 11.39 (49.957 km/h)
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana +0.04
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank +0.13
5. Samuel Sanchez +0:19
28. Iñaki Isasi +0:43
30. Dionisio Galparsoro +0:44
60. Markel Irizar +1:01
70. Koldo Fernandez +1:06
87. Amets Txurruka +1:12
99. Andoni Lafuente +1:22
106. Jon Bru +1:26

Castilly y Leon line-up with Amets

Today the spanish race in Castilla y Leon starts and Euskaltel will of course send a strong team. First of all we have Amets Txurruka back after he broke his collarbone in the Vuelta a Mallorca. Of course we can't expect much from him, but he may surprise us. For the sprints we get Koldo Fernandez and Iñaki Isasi, a good duo in my opinion because Isasi has a lot of experience he can give to Koldo in the sprints. We also have Samuel Sanchez, but he's still preparing for the Tour de France. The Vuelta Castilla y Leon starts with a 9km prologue so I'm definitely hoping for a new stunt from Markel Irizar. Last but not least, in the breaks we will hopefully get to see Dioni Galparsoro, Andoni Lafuente and Jon Bru.

zondag 23 maart 2008

San Remo : Cancellara wins thanks to Iñigo

Maybe the title of this article is a bit too optimistic but this is how you can interpret the end of Milan - San Remo. In general Euskaltel put up a good show. There was an early break with Savini, Frischkorn and Belohvosciks but in the peloton Euskaltel had constantly three men in the front. On the Copa Berta Javier Aramendia struggled and had to let go the peloton. On the Cipressa, one of the two decisive hills, the break was caught by world champion Paolo Bettini. Then Egoi Martinez attacks and tries to reach Bettini together with Barredo, Rebellin, Lövkvist and Axelson, but due to some stupid manoeuvres of Rebellin and Barredo Egoi fell and had to give up his hopes for a good classification. At the same time Juan Jose Oroz has to let the peloton go. At 20 km before the finish the same five together with Savoldelli are still in front but Iñigo manages to reach the groupe together with a few others. In sight of the last kilometer Iñigo attacks, but the lacks the real pace and Cancellara reaches him and jumps over him. With his time trial skills he rode a great last kilometer and won Milan - San Remo. So maybe if Landaluze didn't make his jump, Cancellara would have attacked too late and it would have ended in a sprint, that's why I chose the title :) Iñigo became 14th, totally exhausted. Aitor Galdos came in 26th together with other big sprinters and Ruben Perez.

1. Fabian Cancellara CSC
2. Filippo Pozzato Liquigas
3. Phillipe Gilbert FDJ
14. Iñigo Landaluze
26. Aitor Galdos +0:17
37. Ruben Perez +0:17
104. Javier Aramendia +6:11
113. Alan Perez +7:16
143. Egoi Martinez +12:35
144. Juan Jose Oroz +12:35
DNF Koldo Fernandez

vrijdag 21 maart 2008

Koldo in San Remo

Antton Luengà has left the Tirreno-Adriatico because of personal reasons, hopefully it's nothing to bad and will he soon be back. This means that there is a free spot in the Milan - San Remo selection. This place will be filled with Euskaltel's top sprinter Koldo Fernandez, and of course I'm very happy with this news because with his form I think he definitely has a chance. Together with Landaluze, Galdos, Ruben Perez, Martinez, Oroz, Alan Perez and Aramendia they will have a strong sprint team !

donderdag 20 maart 2008

Euskaltel in Tour de France

Today the ASO officially announced that Euskaltel may take part in the Tour de France 2008. Of course there wasn't really a doubt about this, but in these dark times that cycling is in right now you never know. Once again Astana fell out the boat, this means that Contador and Leipheimer won't be able to defend there first and third spot of last year. The wildcards will go to Barloworld, Agritubel and Chipotle.

dinsdag 18 maart 2008

Tirreno 7 : Iñigo & Egoi in duo-attack

In the seventh stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico we got to see something I never saw before ! Two Euskaltel riders attacked together and made the stage into a duo time trial. This happened because Juan Jose Oroz didn't manage to win the mountains classification. Due to a lack of attention Juanjo saw his jersey go to Lloyd Mondory who took all points on the last climb. Iñigo Landaluze and Egoi Martinez wanted to make this good and started this phenomenal time trial. They never got more than three minutes but when the sprinter teams started to make their train the two didn't stand a chance. Sadly enough it make a sprint and Chicchi won over Napolitano and Cavendish. Ruben Perez finished ok 15th but he had far more potential because at 500 metres he was still in the top 8 of the peloton ! Iñigo Landaluze was the first Euskaltel in the general rank with a 23th place, 7 minutes down on Cancellara.

1 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas 4.50.50 (36,309 km/h)
2 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team High Road
15. Ruben Perez ST
42. Egoi Martinez ST
43. Iñigo Landaluze ST
71. Alan Perez +1:34
75. Javier Aramendia +1:34
117. Aitor Galdos +2:32
140. Juan Jose Oroz +5:04

General Rank
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 28.08.21
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld 0.16
3 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team HigRoad 0.40

23. Iñigo Landaluze +7:08
37. Ruben Perez +13:31
47. Egoi Martinez +18:46
59. Juan Jose Oroz +21:56
87. Aitor Galdos +27:19
101. Alan Perez +30:51
143. Javier Aramendia +56:37

maandag 17 maart 2008

Tirreno 6 : Juanjo attacks again

The sixth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico was signed by a big escape of thirteen riders. Among them Bertolini, Kiryienka, Lastras but also our Juan Jose Oroz. They got a good advantage but in the peloton CSC and LPR Brakes set the pace. In the last round of 15 kilometres they still had a small chance to make it to the end but they got caught up again at 4km before the finish. But with this great effort Juanjo is now leading in the mountains classification !!! He's only two points ahead of Mondory and Dion but with only one climb to go I'm sure he will grab this classification. In the sprint Freire won, beating Pozzato and Di Luca. Egoi Martinez was the only one who came in with the peloton, ending on a 23th place. Iñigo Landaluze lost a lot of time, coming in with a group 3 minutes down.

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 4.46.44 (41,013 km/h)
2 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas
3 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes
23. Egoi Martinez ST
34. Ruben Perez +0:13
111. Juan Jose Oroz +3:09
116. Iñigo Landaluze +3:09
123. Aitor Galdos +4:37
124. Alan Perez +4:37
137. Javier Aramendia +8:37

General Rank
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 23.17.31
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld 0.16
3Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team High Road 0.40
31. Iñigo Landaluze +7:14
42. Ruben Perez +13:31
50. Juan Jose Oroz +16:52
58. Egoi Martinez +18:50
85. Aitor Galdos +24:47
110. Alan Perez +29:17
156. Javier Aramendia +55:03

Tirreno 5 : Time trial

Here are the results of the time-trial in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Like usually, there's not much to talk about. Iñigo was first with a 55th place and he's now 24th in general.

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 33.41
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream Chipotle +0.22
3 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team High Road +0.54

55. Iñigo Landaluze +3:05
70. Juan Jose Oroz +3:38
73. Alan Perez +3:42
89. Egoi Martinez +4:01
95. Ruben Perez +4:03
132. Aitor Galdos +5:11
141. Javier Aramendia +5:24

zondag 16 maart 2008

Paris-Nice 8 : Anton attacks, Gorka 7th general

It was Igor Anton who colored the last stage of Paris-Nice orange. He jumped from the peleton to the head groupe and on the last climb he tried to go with Javier Benitez but that didn't work out. L'hottelerie once again tried to get away but Luis Leon Sanchez was the fastest and sprinted to the victory with only a few metres Monfort and Barreda, the peleton followed within 5 seconds. Gorka Verdugo was part of this peloton so he was able to maintain his 7th spot in the general rank, what a great performance of him this week ! Markel, Lander and Dioni left the stage like many others today.

1 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.51.12 (40.3 km/h)
2 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis
3 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step
26. Gorka Verdugo +0:05
31. Igor Anton +0:05
45. Haimar Zubeldia +3:29
66. Aitor Hernandez +15:08

General Rank
1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 29.02.48
2 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale +0.03
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Silence-Lotto +0.48
7. Gorka Verdugo +2:17
28. Igor Anton +29:54
30. Haimar Zubeldia +32:15
84. Aitor Hernandez +1:35:36

Tirreno 4 : Ruben again 11th

In the 4th stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico it was once again Ruben Perez who sprinted with the big guys in stead of Aitor Galdos. I hope Aitor is saving himself for Milan-SanRemo next week. Ruben obtained a nice 11th spot in the sprint, the stage victory went to Petacchi before Freire and Pozzato. Early in the race Juan Jose Oroz was able to get in the main break but they couldn't reach the finish.

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 3.59.58 (41.505 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas
11. Ruben Perez ST
43. Iñigo Landaluze ST
57. Alan Perez ST
65. Egoi Martinez ST
118. Aitor Galdos +2:29
134. Juan Jose Oroz +7:42
162. Javier Aramendia +8:30

Paris-Nice 7 : Gorka still 7th in general

Gorka Verdugo is still standing strong in the general rank of Paris - Nice 2008. After the 7th stage there he's still standing on a great 7th place. Today he once showed that he's a good climber. On the last climb of the day he constantly was in the head of the peleton and when the peleton broke he was able to get in the first groupe, unlike the leader Robert Gesink. He lost two minutes on the new leader Davide Rebellin, who was in a break with Nocentini and stage winner Sylvain Chavanel.

1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis 5.00.25 (41.14 km/h)
2 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne +0.02
3 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
13. Gorka Verdugo +0:33
51. Markel Irizar +5:07
55. Haimar Zubeldia +5:07
85. Aitor Hernandez +10:43
102. Igor Anton +19:18
103. Lander Aperribay +19:18
105. Dioni Galparsoro +19:18

zaterdag 15 maart 2008

Tirreno 3 : Iñigo 18th

In the third stage of the Tirreno - Adriatica Iñigo Landaluze was finally able to show his climbing skills. On the last climb he stayed together with Efimkin, Ballan and Pozzato so that's not nothing ! He's now 25th in the general rank 1:46 down on Axelsson. Winner was Joaquim Rodriguez who escaped on the last climb and made it till the top on his own before Giro-winner Danilo Di Luca. I saw something about the race on the news this morning and there were some problems with a motor and one of the "victims" was someone from Euskaltel, but I couldn't figure out which one :(

1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 4.44.59 (40.423 km/h)
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes +0.12
3 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni
18. Iñigo Landaluze +0:44
35. Ruben Perez +1:50
42. Juan Jose Oroz +2:20
54. Aitor Galdos +5:05
71. Egoi Martinez +7:24
141. Alan Perez +13:33
157. Javier Aramendia +15:32

Paris-Nice 6 : Gorka 8th in General

Once again it was a quiet day for Euskaltel in the 5th real stage in Paris-Nice. Gorka, Haimar and Dioni were all in the peloton, but Carlos Barredo won the stage with 2:15 advantage. Resulting in a drop from Gorka from the 7th to the 8th place but only five seconds away from Luis Leon Sanchez. Anton didn't came in with the peloton but in a small groupe together with Aitor 8 minutes down, so he lost some spots in the general rank too.

1 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step 3.58.01 (43.48 km/h)
2 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC +0.04
3 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott

28. Gorka Verdugo +2:15
34. Haimar Zubeldia +2:15
67. Dioni Galparsoro +2:15
99. Aitor Hernandez +8:21
101. Igor Anton +8:21
115. Markel Irizar +18:50
126. Lander Aperribay +18:50

General Rank
1 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 21.10.28
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner +0.32
3 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale +0.35
8. Gorka Verdugo +2:11
21. Igor Anton +11:14
39. Haimar Zubeldia +24:22
54. Dioni Galparsoro +31:01
106. Markel Irizar +57:57
121. Lander Aperribay +1:08:36
125. Aitor Hernandez +1:10:28

vrijdag 14 maart 2008

Tirreno 2 : No Euskaltel

There isn't much to say about the Euskaltel riders in the second stage of the Tirreno - Adriatico. There wasn't one in the break and none was part of the two groups at the end of the stage. Juan Jose Oroz came in first on a 45th place, together with Iñigo Landaluze. The others all lost 8 till 12 minutes.

1 Raffaele Illiano (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 5.01.10 (40.442 km/h)2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld
3 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 0.03
45. Juan Jose Oroz +1:06
52. Iñigo Landaluze +1:06
124. Egoi Martinez +8:23
127. Alan Perez +8:23
128. Ruben Perez +8:23
144. Aitor Galdos +8:23
149. Javier Aramendia +12:07

donderdag 13 maart 2008

Amets till 2010

Amets Txurruka and Euskaltel-Euskadi finally came to an agreement. Amets will stay with Euskaltel until 2010. His contract would end after this season but the team believes in him and will help him build out his future as a pro racer. Amets is already training again after his fall in the Tour Down Under.

Paris-Nice 5 : Gorka (still) 7th in general

It seems like the Euskaltel riders didn't have their day today, and just now that the legendary Mont Ventoux was on the schedule. Of course a 22th place for Gorka Verdugo isn't exactly bad, but I expected more from Igor and Haimar. Igor probably didn't gave it all to support Gorka but I haven't seen anything from Haimar and that's a bit disappointing. On the climb Robert Gesink from Rabobank showed his great talent but was beaten in the sprint by Cadel Evans.
Due to the fact that Gorka only lost 2.18 minutes, he was able to stay nicely 7th in the general rank. Anton is now 13th, Haimar 42th.

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 4.32.56 (38,691 km/h)
2 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank ST
3 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale +0.33
21. Igor Anton +2:18
22. Gorka Verdugo +2:18
37. Haimar Zubeldia +4:09
62. Dioni Galparsoro +8:58
86. Aitor Hernandez +15:09
95. Markel Irizar +18:28
97. Lander Aperribai +18:28

General Rank
1 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 17.10.12
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner +0.32
3 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale +0.35
7. Gorka Verdugo +2:11
13. Igor Anton +4:48
42. Haimar Zubeldia +24:22
61. Dioni Galparsoro +31:01
91. Markel Irizar +41:22
125. Lander Aperribai +52:01
144. Aitor Hernandez +1:04:22

Tirreno 1 : Ruben Perez 11th

The first stage of the Tirreno - Adriatico was a classical sprint one but it wasn't Aitor Galdos who defended the colors of Euskaltel, but Ruben Perez. In the last kilometres he was constantly in the top 20 and at the end he sprinted to a good 11th place. Also Javier Aramendia was active, he tried to get in a break together with Ignatiev, but that didn't work out. Freire won the race before Petacchi and Rojas.

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 4.10.01 (38.397 km/h)
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram ST
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne ST
11. Ruben Perez ST
51. Aitor Galdos ST
88. Juan Jose Oroz ST
107. Egoi Martinez ST
115. Alan Perez ST
116. Iñigo Landaluze ST
144. Javier Aramendia +5:51
166. Antton Luengo +10:06

woensdag 12 maart 2008

Paris-Nice 4 : Gorka 3rd in General

The riders got the first decisive stage in this years Paris-Nice and it sure made some big changes in the general rank. Early in the race there was a break with L'Hottelerie, McGee and Carlström but McGee wasn't able to stay with the two others on the last climb so the two battled it out for the victory, since the peloton let them go. Carlström beat L'Hottelerie in a sprint. In the peloton there were some breaks. First to finish was a groupe of 13, with among them Igor Anton and Gorka Verdugo. Anton showed some great things on the last climb, first letting go the pack and then coming back and attacking. But it was Gorka who stole the show because he finished 10th and with this good result he became 3rd in the general rank !

1 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas 4.39.14 (35.56 km/h)
2 Clément L'Hottelerie (Fra) Skil-Shimano ST
3 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Crédit Agricole +0.43
10. Gorka Verdugo +0:43
12. Igor Anton +0:43
60. Aitor Hernandez +17:06
61. Markel Irizar +17:06
66. Haimar Zubeldia +17:06
74. Dioni Galparsoro +17:06
100. Lander Aperribai +19:36

General Rank
1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis 12.37.01
2 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne +0.03
3 Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi +0.08
15. Igor Anton +2:45
62. Haimar Zubeldia +20:28
71. Dioni Galparsoro +22:18
73. Markel Irizar +23:09
125. Lander Aperribai +33:48
148. Aitor Hernandez +49:28

Paris-Nice 3 : Beñat out

It was another stage with terrible weather conditions in Paris-Nice. Only this time the Euskaltel riders didn't get out of it without accident. In a big crash almost 50km before the end Beñat and Dioni fell. Dioni could get back up and finish the stage but Beñat had to quit with several stitches in his face. Luckily he's fine now. Once again the peleton split in two groups but only Anton and Verdugo managed to stay in the first one. Anton even escaped on the last climb, taking 3 points for the mountains classification, but he got reeled back in. In the descent a groupe of four was formed with Hushovd, Steegmans, Chavanel and Albasini but Steegmans was too strong for them in the sprint and this way he got his second victory in this Paris-Nice. First Euskaltel rider was Anton on a 34th place.

1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step 5.29.47 (36.57 km/h)
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole ST
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis ST
34. Igor Anton +0:03
45. Gorka Verdugo +0:03
53. Haimar Zubeldia +1:15
83. Dioni Galparsoro +2:56
94. Markel Irizar +4:25
109. Lander Aperribai +8:01
152. Aitor Hernandez +26:20

maandag 10 maart 2008

Tirreno & San Remo line-up

The sprinters will load their guns for the festivals the next week in the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. Of course Euskaltel will send a team too and with Aitor Galdos as the leader, they will certainly have a chance of winning something. The others are Javier Aramendia, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Juan Jose Oroz, Alan Perez, Ruben Perez and once again in the Orange Jersey : Egoi Martinez !

Paris-Nice 2 : Gorka 17th

The first stage of Paris-Nice was shortened to 93 kilometres due to the bad weather and rain. On the first and only climb of then day Dioni Galparsoro took the 4 mountain classification points and will ride in the polka dot jersey tomorrow. Three escapers escaped : Velits, Terpstra and Eisel but the peleton was split due to the heavy wind. The first peloton chased the three escapers down and with the 32 of them they sprinted for the victory. Gert Steegmans won impressively before Pineau and Hushovd. Only Gorka Verdugo managed to get in that groupe and became 17th. Haimar, Dioni, Igor, Markel and Beñat were all in the second groupe, 2:37 down and we could see that they did the chasing work in that groupe. In the general rank Gorka is 17th and Haimar 70th but of course everything will be decided on the Mont Ventoux.

1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step 2.21.29
2 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom +0.02
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole +0.02
17. Gorka Verdugo +0:02
40. Haimar Zubeldia +2:37
44. Dionisio Galparsoro +2:37
50. Igor Anton +2:37
55. Markel Irizar +2:37
77. Beñat Albizuri +2:48
99. Lander Aperribai +6:32
107. Aitor Hernandez +6:32

General Rank
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 2.26.55
2 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step +0.06
3 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom +0.12
17. Gorka Verdugo +0:27
40. Markel Irizar +2:43
58. Igor Anton +3:04
70. Haimar Zubeldia +3:12
74. Dionisio Galparsoro +3:21
75. Beñat Albizuri +3:37
122. Aitor Hernandez +7:07
130. Lander Aperribai +7:16

zondag 9 maart 2008

Paris-Nice 1 : Markel Irizar 2nd in prologue !!

Markel Irizar rode the time trial of his life in the 4.6 kilometre long prologue of Paris-Nice. Ok he was a little bit helped by the rain that started after the first 40 riders, but let's just forget that :D. He was first for a very long time but at the end Thor Hushovd swept the time from Markel off the board. Haimar Zubeldia, the Euskaltel leader, disappointed with an 114th place, 0:33 down.

1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 5.28
2 Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi +0.04
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner +0.05
37. Gorka Verdugo +0:18
72. Igor Anton +0:27
110. Aitor Hernandez +0:33
114. Haimar Zubeldia +0:33
141. Lander Aperribay +0:42
142. Dionisio Galparsoro +0:42
147. Beñat Albizuri +0:47

Murcia 5 :Koldo WINS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Words fail to say what a great performance Euskaltel and Koldo Fernandez did in the last stage of the Vuelta a Murcia. For the first time there was an actual Euskaltel-train (like the ones for Petacchi and Boonen) and Koldo managed to finish it in an impressive way ! So the first victory of the season is in, more to come I would say. With Samuel 7th, Iñaki 15th, Mikel 19th and Ivan 20th Euskaltel had five riders in the top 20 and won of course the team classification. Koldo also won the sprint classification, 4 points ahead of Brown.

1 Koldo Fernández (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3.05.50 (43.56 km/h)

2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank ST
3 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC ST
7. Samuel Sanchez ST
15. Iñaki Isasi ST
19. Mikel Astarloza ST
20. Ivan Velasco ST
70. Jon Bru +0:14
82. Jorge Azanza +6:15
85. Josu Agirre +6:15

General Rank
1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 16.29.01
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua Sapone - Caffe Mokambo +0.02
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana +0.06
18. Mikel Astarloza +2:47
25. Iñaki Isasi +6:02
27. Samuel Sanchez +6:50
53. Jorge Azanza +20:57
62. Ivan Velasco +24:25
69. Koldo Fernandez +25:33
70. Jon Bru +25:39
77. Josu Agirre +31:22

zaterdag 8 maart 2008

Murcia 4 : Samuel 11th

In the fourth race of the Vuelta a Murcia Samuel Sanchez has shown that he's in good shape and that his preparations for the Tour de France are going well. In todays hilly time trial of 23 kilometres he became 11th, 48 seconds down on Alejandro Valverde. Mikel Astarloza disappointed a bit because he came in 28th with 1:43 down. In general Euskaltel is improving in the time trials because there was no Euskaltel rider with the last ten :)


1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 33.32 (41.33 km/h)
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua Sapone - Caffe Mokambo +0.02
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana +0.06
11. Samuel Sanchez +0:48
28. Mikel Astarloza +1:43
31. Iñaki Isasi +1:45
50. Jorge Azanza +2:33
51. Josu Agirre +2:44
58. Ivan Velasco +3:04
73. Jon Bru +4:04
80. Koldo Fernandez +4:12

vrijdag 7 maart 2008

Strong team in Paris-Nice

Euskaltel will (probably) send a really strong team to Paris-Nice 2008. The leader of the squad will be Haimar Zubeldia, who made this race one of his pre-tour goals. He will be helped by Igor Anton, Gorka Verdugo, Aitor Hernandez, Dioni Galparsoro, Markel Irizar, Lander Aperribay and Beñat Albizuri. The team is clearly built around Haimar so there's no real sprinter, but I think Beñay might suprise us seeing his form in the past weeks.

donderdag 6 maart 2008

Murcia 3 : Koldo once again 2nd

Koldo Fernandez did a great job in the third stage of the Vuelta a Murcia. For the third time this season he became second in a sprint. This time he was beaten by Juan Jose Heado but he kept Graeme Brown behind him. The victory will hopefully his very soon. Jon Bru took some points for the mountains jersey. Iñaki Isasi became good 12th in the sprint. Tomorrow there will be the first time trial for Euskaltel this season, hopefully we will get to see some improvement !

1 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 3.31.08 (41.49 km/h)
2 Koldo Fernández (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi ST
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank ST
12. Iñaki Isasi ST
34. Jorge Azanza ST
37. Jon Bru ST
46. Mikel Astarloza ST
52. Ivan Velasco ST
83. Samuel Sanchez ST
86. Josu Agirre +1:02

Murcia 2 : Euskaltel disappointing

After some protest from the riders, the judges decided that the second race of the Vuelta a Murcia should continue. It was terrible weather and on the last climb there was even snow. Clearly not something for Euskaltel as they weren't able to place themselves good in the stage results. Mikel was the first one on a 19th place, probably already out for the overall victory. Azanza, Bru and Astarloza tried to break away on the mountains though, but it didn't work out.

Tomorrow there will be another sprint stage, so hopefully Koldo can fully recover from this.

1 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana 4.18.14
2 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Extremadura ST
3Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff Credit Systems +0.02
19. Mikel Astarloza +1.10
29. Iñaki Isasi +4.23
34. Samuel Sanchez +6.08
51. Jorge Azanza +12.15
74. Jon Bru +21.27
76. Ivan Velasco +21.27
80. Josu Agirre +21.27
85. Koldo Fernandez +21.27

woensdag 5 maart 2008

Murcia 1 : Koldo 2th !!

Euskaltel has had a great first day in the Vuelta a Murcia. It was a usual sprint stage with a break of two that got reeled in 3 kilometres before the finish line. It was Rabobank's Graeme Brown who took the victory, but Euskaltel's Koldo Fernandez just missed it with a second spot ! Of course a great performance from him and he shows that he's in good shape, so we might get our first victory this week. Also Iñaki Isasi got a top 20 spot, probably because he helped Koldo in the sprint, he became 16th.

1 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 5.00.11 (39.44 km/h)
2 Koldo Fernández (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
3 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Extremadura-Gruppo Gallardo
16. Iñaki Isasi ST
24. Mikel Astarloza ST
25. Jon Bru ST
38. Jorge Azanza ST
44. Ivan Velasco ST
73. Samuel Sanchez ST
74. Josu Agirre ST

zondag 2 maart 2008

Clasica de Almeria : Koldo 4th

Today the Clasica de Almeria was held and of course Euskaltel was present. It was a normal race with an early breakaway but none of the Euskaltel riders were in it. Orbea did the chase work, maybe for Euskaltel, and they got the escapers reeled back in. In the sprint it was Juan Jose Haedo who won before Oscar Freire and Graeme Brown. For Euskaltel Koldo Fernandez came greatly fourth. It seems like he's in shape for the next races !

1 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 4.22.46 (42.905 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4. Koldo Fernandez
50.Mikel Astarloza
51. Jorge Azanza
63. Samuel Sanchez
79. Jon Bru +0:14
85. Iñaki Isasi +0:14
98. Josu Agirre +1:38
101. Ivan Velasco +3:03

Valenciana 5 : Ruben 5th, Gorka 5th in General

The last stage of the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana was one for the sprinters and it seems like Ruben Perez is now one of them because he placed himself 5th after the big names Petacchi, Zabel, Napolitano and Chicchi. Also Beñat Albizuri was active today. He got into the good break but with 4 kilometres to go the peloton chased them down. Gorka maintained his good position in the general rank, he became 5th.

I think we have got a good week from Euskaltel with a really good Gorka and some strong attacks. Maybe one small low point, I had expected a bit more from Haimar but he probably saves his good condition up for something bigger.

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 3.12.54 (46,470 km/h)
2 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre ST
3 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas ST
5. Ruben Perez ST
30. Gorka Verdugo ST
39. Alan Perez ST
44. Markel Irizar ST
52. Haimar Zubeldia ST
53. Juan Jose Oroz ST
85. Andoni Lafuente ST
124. Beñat Albizuru +1:07

General Rank
1 Rubén Plaza (Spa) Benfica 19.54.49
2 Manuel Váquez (Spa) Contentpolis - Murcia +0.05
3 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom +0.21
5. Gorka Verdugo +0:31
28. Haimar Zubeldia +2:54
31. Ruben Perez +4:27
45. Markel Irizar +13:04
65. Ruben Perez +24:51
83. Alan Perez +30:51
120. Andoni Lafuente +48:12
125. Beñat Albizuri +50:40

zaterdag 1 maart 2008

Line-Up Almeria & Murcia

Euskaltel will send a strong teams to the next two races : Almeria and Murcia. The team will consist of Sanchez, Astarloza, Bru, Fernandez, Isasi, Agirre and Velasco. A strong team and with Astarloza's shape we can expect something.

Valenciana 4 : Gorka 11th, 5th in General

It was once again Gorka Verdugo who was the best Euskaltel rider in the 4th stage of the Tour of Valenciana. In the sprint, won by Mirco Lorenzetto, he placed himself good on an 11th place and now he's 5th in the general rank. Also Juan Jose Oroz has been active. He was in one of the first breaks but together with Contador and Cunego that break didn't have a chance.

1 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre 4.15.00 (41.318 km/h)
2 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom ST
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas ST
11. Gorka Verdugo ST
32. Ruben Perez +0:14
33. Markel Irizar +0:14
36. Haimar Zubeldia +0:14
79. Beñat Albizuri +1:00
88. Juan Jose Oroz +1:14
115. Alan Perez +2:34
116. Andoni Lafuente +2:54