zondag 31 augustus 2008

Vuelta 1 : Egoi in the attack

In the first real stage of the Tour of Spain, Euskaltel was once again in the front. Egoi Martinez pulled of a great attack, first with 3 others, then only with Rosendo, but he failed and with 20 kilometres to go his story was over. Then Iñigo Landaluze tried to get away from the peloton with some others but that didn't work out. In the end Koldo couldn't keep up with the pace and couldn't sprint with the others. Anton was the first Euskaltel rider to finish on a 24th place. Amets Txurruka lost, like in the Tour, some time.

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 4.23.00 (40.221 km/h)
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.02
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
24. Igor Anton +0:02
34. Alan Perez +0:02
38. Iñigo Landaluze +0:02
39. Ruben Perez +0:02
50. Egoi Martinez +0:02
62. Ivan Velasco +0:02
82. Mikel Astarloza +0:02
102. Koldo Fernandez +0:31
111. Amets Txurruka +0:57

Germany 2 : Markel attacked, Haimar 13th

In the second stage of the Tour of Germany Markel Irizar felt good and got in the escape of the day. Despite his good efforts, the break didn't last and they were reeled back in with 5 kilometres to go. Then Rigoberto Uran attacked,and again only Haimar could follow a bit, but he never got a chance to win the stage. Uran was passed by De La Fuente and he won, Haimar became 13th.

1. David de la Fuente Scott-American Beef 03:48:38
2. Pietro Caucchioli Crédit Agricole +0:02
3. Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia +0:02
13. Haimar Zubeldia +0:10
35. Jon Bru +0:39
40. Jorge Azanza +0:44
72. Iñaki Isasi ++1:29
75. Aitor Hernandez +1:29
83. Markel Irizar +2:06
84. Lander Aperribay +2:06
96. Juan Jose Oroz +2:06

Vuelta TTT : Euskaltel magnificent !!!!

This year the Vuelta d'España started with a 7.7 kilometres long team time trial in Granada. Liquigas set the first time and it stayed on top of the tables. Euskaltel came closest to this time only 8 seconds behind. With this second place, Euskaltel probably got his best place in a team time trial ever !! A really super great result!! Ivan Velasco and Alan Perez weren't able to keep track with the other 7, but I'm sure they did their work in the beginning of the race.

1 Liquigas 8.21 (55.33 km/h)
2 Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.08
3 Caisse d'Epargne 0.09

General Rank
1 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas 8.21
2 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas
3 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas
8. Igor Anton +0:08
9. Koldo Fernandez +0:08
10. Mikel Astarloza +0:08
11. Iñigo Landaluze +0:08
12. Egoi Martinez +0:08
13. Amets Txurruka +0:08
14. Ruben Perez +0:08
137. Alan Perez +0:30
157. Ivan Velasco +0:57

Germany 1 : Haimar 14th

In the first stage and immediately queens stage of the Tour of Germany, Euskaltel wasn't able to participate in front of the race. No one could get in the early escape and when at the end the young German Gerdemann attacked only Haimar could stay on a fair distance. He became 14th, 2 minutes down on winner Gerdemann and is now 13th in the general rank.

1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Columbia 4.42.54 (37.75 km/h)
2 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.16
3 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
14. Haimar Zubeldia +1:58
37. Jorge Azanza +5:21
46. Iñaki Isasi +5:21
51. Markel Irizar +5:30
77. Juan Jose Oroz +9:46
93. Jon Bru +14:25
97. Lander Aperribay +14:25
98. Aitor Hernandez +14:25

General Rank
1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Columbia 4.46.57
2 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.17
3 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana 0.20
13. Haimar Zubeldia +2:08
42. Iñaki Isasi +5:31
48. Jorge Azanza +5:36
49. Markel Irizar +5:36
74. Juan Jose Oroz +9:52
97. Aitor Hernandez +14:28
119. Jon Bru +14:44
123. Lander Aperribay +14:47

vrijdag 29 augustus 2008

Vuelta d'España

Tomorrow the Tour of Spain will start and Euskaltel will send a strong team. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano told that they absolutely wanted a stage victory and maybe a podium spot, here are the nine :

  • Igor Anton : The biggest hope for Euskaltel. He definitely will be able to take a victory and is our biggest hope for a podium spot. Seeing his good results last year and his shape in Puertos, he can really impress the world now.
  • Mikel Astarloza : After the Tour, he will probably be over his top, but he will be definitely a great help for Anton. Maybe he can get in an escape and finish it or go for a top 10 spot.
  • Koldo Fernandez : The hope for Euskaltel when it comes down on a sprint. This year he showed in the Giro that he can compete with the best and now in Spain, he will even be better.
  • Egoi Martinez : He's a certainty to be in a good escape and maybe this time, unlike in the Tour, he will bring us a stage victory.
  • Iñigo Landaluze : The man in shape. I don't know what to expect from him but I'm sure he will bring us some exciting moments.
  • Amets Txurruka : He didn't ride the Tour like I expected, but I'm sure he will try to make up for that, with some good attacks like we're used from him.
  • Ruben Perez : A strong rider that likes to attack, but will probably a helper in the flat stages for Anton.
  • Alan Perez : Like Ruben, a strong rider but will ride for Anton
  • Ivan Velasco : Like the two above. He's in good shape so I'm anxious to see what he can do.

Germany prologue : Hernandez 27th

Euskaltel didn't start good in the Tour of Germany's opening prologue. Aitor Hernandez was the best of them on a 27th place, 7 seconds down on winner Lancaster.

1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram 3.59 (54.23 km/h)
2 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team CSC - Saxo Bank
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Columbia 0.02
27. Aitor Hernandez +0:07
42. Markel Irizar +0:10
44. Juan Jose Oroz +0:10
70. Iñaki Isasi +0:14
72. Haimar Zubeldia +0:14
116. Jorge Azanza +0:19
135. Jon Bru +0:23
143. Lander Aperribay +0:26

Plouay : Oroz in the attack

Once again Euskaltel couldn't convince in a race in northern Europe. This time the GP Plouay was on schedule. Oroz was in the early break but of course that didn't last untill the finish.

1 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 5.42.44
2 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
3 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.03
31. Haimar Zubeldia +0:13
50. Markel Irizar +4:20
70. Juan Jose Oroz +6:10
81. Jon Bru +9:09
82. Iñaki Isasi +9:09
83. Jorge Azanza +9:09

Clasica Los Puertos : Great teamwork

Better late than never, here are the results of the Clasica Los Puertos. Here Euskaltel did a really good job, making the race with Igor and Iñigo, but sadly they weren't able to take the victory home because of the great Astana teamwork between Leipheimer and Contador.

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 3.15.10 (44.85 km/h)
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0.41
3 Diego Gallego Arnaiz (Spa) Burgos Monumental 0.49
5. Iñigo Landaluze +0.58
9. Igor Anton +2:18
12. Mikel Astarloza +2:24
13. Ruben Perez +2:33
17. Egoi Martinez +2:33
27. Ivan Velasco +2:33
29. Amets Txurruka +2:33
44. Alan Perez +10:02

Eneco Tour : End rankings

Here are the end rankings of the Eneco Tour for Euskaltel, big disappointment if you ask me.

1 José Iván Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 26.27.07
2 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step 0.04
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia 0.07
51. Aitor Hernandez +16:49
89. Javier Aramendia +29:11
90. Gorka Verdugo +29:23
106. Josu Agirre +36:43
107. Beñat Albizuri +36:53
108. Andoni Lafuente +37:33

maandag 25 augustus 2008

Eneco 3/4/5 : Aitor shows himself

In the third, fourth and fifth stage of the Eneco Tour Euskaltel once again was invisible. Only Aitor Hernandez wanted to make us proud and rode in the break of the day in the third stage. Of course the break didn't succeed, but it was a good effort! In the fourth stage an orange rider tried to escape in the last kilometres but it was a really lame attempt.

I don't even want to give the results cause they are too poor.

zaterdag 23 augustus 2008

Eneco 2 : Aramendia wakes up !

Finally an Euskaltel rider decided to show himself in the eneco tour. Javier Aramendia was in the break of the day in the second stage, but sadly they didn't succeed. In the last kilometres they were reeled back in by the peloton where the sprint preparations started. André Greipel won the sprint in front of Haedo and Förster. None of the Euskaltel riders ended in the first group, Andoni was first on an 85th place.

1. Andre Greipel Team Columbia 3:51:31
2. Juan Jose Haedo Team CSC ST
3. Robert Förster Gerolsteiner ST
85. Andoni Lafuente +0:13
94. Gorka Verdugo +0:13
112. Javier Aramendia +0:13
116.Josu Agirre +0:13
122. Aitor Hernandez +0:13
124. Beñat Albizuri +0:13

donderdag 21 augustus 2008

Euskaltel in 2009 standings

So I did a little research on who already has a contract for next year and who doesn't. The people who definitely stay+ the newbie are :
  • Samuel Sanchez (2010)
  • Mikel Astarloza (2010)
  • Igor Anton (2010)
  • Amets Txurruka (2010)
  • Ruben Perez (2010)
  • Koldo Fernandez (2009)
  • Egoi Martinez (2009)
  • Alan Perez (2009)
  • Josu Agirre (2009)
  • Ivan Velasco (2009)
  • Markel Irizar (2009)
  • Mikel Nieve

The people that will definitely leave are :

  • Haimar Zubeldia (Astana)
  • Antton Luengo (Quits)

Miguel Madariaga said that 6 or 7 riders will have to leave the squad, so still 5 riders will have to leave

  • Beñat Albizuri
  • Lander Aperribay
  • Javier Aramendia
  • Jorge Azanza
  • Jon Bru
  • Aitor Galdos
  • Dioni Galparsoro
  • Aitor Hernandez
  • Iñaki Isasi
  • Andoni Lafuente
  • Iñigo Landaluze
  • Juan Jose Oroz
  • Gorka Verdugo

IMO Galdos, Isasi, Landaluze, Oroz and Verdugo won't be kicked out seeing their performances this or last season. I also think that they won't fire Aramendia cause he only got one year to adjust yet. The others will all have to step up their game to compete for those last contracts.

There are also some rumours about David Herrero, Eladio Sanchez and Castroviejo coming to the team but they aren't confirmed yet so I won't think about these too much.

4 guys for next year

4 guys have prolonged their contract with Euskaltel for one more year. Ivan Velasco (picture), Alan Pérez, Josu Agirre and Markel Irizar will defend the orange colours next year too. So that makes it more thrilling for the other guys that haven't got a contract for next year yet.

Eneco 1 : Dioni out

It keeps on going worse and worse in the Eneco Tour for Euskaltel. This time they not only did bad in the race with a first Euskaltel rider on the 58th place and invisible during the race, but Dioni Galparsoro had to give up after his bad performance yesterday in the opening prologue. Come on guys !!! This is the time to conquer the hearts of the belgian cyclingfreaks and a contract !

1. Tom Boonen Quick Step 4:16:17
2. Daniele Bennati Liquigas ST
3. Fabio Sabatini Team Milram ST
58. Beñat Albizuri ST
96. Javier Aramendia ST
117. Josu Agirre ST
119. Gorka Verdugo ST
129. Aitor Hernandez ST
133. Andoni Lafuente ST

Eneco prologue : Nothing to mention

There isn't much to mention about the prologue in the Eneco Tour or Tour de Benelux. Like usual the orange squad showed that they aren't really interested in belgian races. Not really smart cause a lot of guys in the Eneco squad should step up their game or they wll kicked out of the team next year.

1. Jose Ivan Gutierrez Caisse d'Epargne 5:31:90
2. Cyril Lemoine Crédit Agricole +0:08
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Columbia +0:33
38. Gorka Verdugo +16:40
61. Javier Aramendia +19:98
71. Beñat Albizuri +22:85
87. Josu Agirre +24:787
97. Aitor Hernandez +28:49
128. Andoni Lafuente +38:27
151. Dionisio Galparsoro +54:69

woensdag 20 augustus 2008

Mikel Astarloz till 2010

After Haimar's news, we also got some good news. Mikel Astarloza has prolonged his contract with Euskaltel until 2010. He feels honoured and pleased to ride for the Basque team and will try everything to do something back for the orange squad.

Haimar leaves Euskaltel for Astana

I needed some time to let this news sink so that's why I post this so late. Haimar Zubeldia will leave Euskaltel for Astana, team of Contador, Leipheimer, Klöden and other great riders. He has a contract for two years. Apparently he needed something new in his carreer. I'm absolutely not happy with this news because I think Euskaltel isn't (yet) strong enough for one of the main riders to leave. Also I don't want to see Haimar fade away in the big Kazak team. I will keep on supporting him but I won't start posting news about Astana, altough Haimar was my favourite rider ever and through him I discovered Euskaltel.

The past days I've been thinking about reasons why Haimar left. Of course these are all suggestions and they are probably not right.
  1. Haimar doesn't like it that Samuel is the new leader in the team and in the Tour de France
  2. Haimar isn't happy with Euskalltel anymore since they fired his brother last year
  3. Astana offers him a lot more money and with a young child and family to support, he can use the extra euros

If you have other suggestions or want to comment on mine, feel free. I hope he will come back to Euskaltel in 2011.

donderdag 14 augustus 2008

Samuel 6th in Olympic TT

Samuel Sanchez was one of the two representatives for Spain in the Olympic Time Trial. After his win in the Olympic Road Race, Samu looked recovered and set the first time on all the check points. Sadly these times were passed by five other riders Cancellara, Larsson, Leipheimer, Contador and Evans. This means Samuel became 6th and of course that's great !

maandag 11 augustus 2008

Strong team for the Vuelta

Euskaltel will send a very strong team to the upcoming Vuelta d'España. The men for the general rank will be Igor Anton and Mikel Astarloza, while Koldo Fernandez will be the hope for a sprint victory. There will be others that have the possibility of winning a stage like Egoi Martinez, Amets Txurruka, and the two Perez boys Ruben and Alan. 7 spots filled, two to go and for those places Ivan Velasco, Iñigo Landaluze and Jorge Azanza are in competition.

I think probably Ivan and Iñigo will go because they are in good shape at the moment.

zondag 10 augustus 2008

Landaluze finishes 2nd in Burgos

In the Vuelta a Burgos Iñigo Landaluze was able to raise some spots in the general rank, as I expected. Both Iñigo and Igor Anton were in the head group today but they both weren't strong enough to compete for the stage victory. At the end Iñigo tried to ride away from Xabier Zandio, the one in front of him in the general rank, but Zandio was to strong and kept on following Landaluze. Once again it showed that Anton isn't ready yet with his preparations for the Vuelta, because he finished 18th, 2'30" down on stage winner Cobo. Also Ivan Velasco was able to impress, finishing on a good 16th spot.

1 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Scott-American Beef 3.53.10 (39.89 km/h)
2 Manuel Vazquez Hueso (Spa) Contentpolis - Murcia 0.09
3 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.18
10. Iñigo Landaluze +0:46
16. Ivan Velasco +2:22
18. Igor Anton +2:30
63. Alan Perez +14:51
81. Aitor Hernandez +14:51
88. Jorge Azanza +15:05
108. Koldo Fernandez +17:25

General Rank
1 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 18.42.57
2 Iñigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.12
3 Walter Fernando Pedraza Morales (Col) Tinkoff 0.29
22. Ivan Velasco +3:51
27. Igor Anton +4:38
71. Alan Perez +16:20
76. Aitor Hernandez +16:20
91. Jorge Azanza +17:49
102. Koldo Fernandez +19:33

Antton Luengo quits

After five years with Euskaltel, Antton Luengo has decided to quit cycling. Despite the fact that he came with Euskaltel as one of the biggest talents, he never could expose his potential. This year he had to quit almost all the stage races he started in because of 'personal problems'. Hopefully there's nothing too bad going on and I wish him all the luck in his after-cycling life !

zaterdag 9 augustus 2008

Samuel wins Olympics on my birthday

Thanks to Mister Samuel Sanchez I had the best birthday of my life today ! On a incredibly fantastic way he became THE Olympic Champion and wins the gold medal for Euskaltel. This is probably the greatest moment for Euskaltel ever and I think all the fans can be really proud of our Samu/Samsam/...

For us Europeans the Olympic road race started at 5 am but the images of the great city of Beijing were definitely worth it. First a sightseeing tour through the city and then a magnificent tour close to the Great Wall. Spain tried to control the race with a strong Carlos Sastre but when the real guys started to attack it became clear that both Valverde and Contador weren't strong enough. Suddenly Andy Schleck attacked and only Rebellin and our Samu were able to follow him. The three of them raced to the finish but in the last kilometres Kolobnev, Rogers and Cancellara came back. It became the MOST thrilling sprint I've ever seen ! Kolobnev went on first, but way too early. Quickly Rebellin and Samu took him back and Samuel showed that he was the fittest by defeating Rebellin with a bike length.

After the finish you could see the sociable character of Samu, being congratulated by his teammates and other competitors. The podium ceremony became very emotional for him but the images will be forever in our minds. For myself it was like a shock and I was screaming and shivering like hell when Samu crossed the finish first ! Unbelievable that he gave me this birthday present, definitely the best birthday ever !

Burgos 4 : Iñigo still 4th

It goes up and down with Koldo's sprint in the Vuelta a Burgos. After a great victory in the third stage, he couldn't show his skills once again and became 22th, Yauheni Hutarovich once again won. Tomorrow will be the last chance for Iñigo to climb some spots in the general rank. He's now 4th but I'm sure he will try to do better.

1 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux 3.50.18 (42.21 km/h)
2 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana
3 Elia Rigotto (Ita) Team Milram
22. Koldo Fernandez ST
48. Igor Anton ST
67. Ivan Velasco ST
73. Iñigo Landaluze ST
82. Jorge Azanza ST
109. Alan Perez ST
117. Aitor Hernandez ST

vrijdag 8 augustus 2008

Koldo wins 3rd stage in Burgos

Yes ! Koldo Fernandez did it and won the third stage of the Vuelta a Burgos in a sprint. In the sprint he beat Stefan Van Dijk and the 2nd stage winner Yauheni Hutarovich. It's his 4th win this season. The others all helped to get Koldo's stage victory and Iñigo Landaluze progressed to a 4th stage in the overall rank.

1 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3.19.43 (44.76 km/h)
2 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Mitsubishi-Jartazi
3 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux
24. Iñigo Landaluze ST
92. Ivan Velasco ST
114. Igor Anton ST
119. Alan Perez ST
126. Aitor Hernandez ST
134. Jorge Azanza +0:36

donderdag 7 augustus 2008

Burgos 2 : Koldo bad in sprint

The second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos ended in a sprint but Koldo didn't seem to be in great shape. He ended ninth in a non-sprint field. The stage was one by Yauheni Hutarovich. The other Euskaltel guys had to make pace in the peloton because noone was in the break of the day. Once again Antton Luengo quit the race. I really don't know what's happening with him but it's really sad to see. Hopefully he will get back soon ! Iñigo is still 5th overall so that's promissing.

1 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux 4.13.54 (43.95 km/h)
2 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana
9. Koldo Fernandez ST
39. Alan Perez ST
64. Iñigo Landaluze ST
80. Igor Anton ST
85. Aitor Hernandez ST
106. Jorge Azanza ST
107. Ivan Velasco ST

woensdag 6 augustus 2008

Burgos 1 : Iñigo 5th, Anton loses time

Iñigo Landaluze was the best Euskaltel rider in the first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. He was in the head group of 31 riders and at the end he became 5th, 33 seconds down on winner Andrei Kunitski. In the peloton it was Euskaltel that made the pace for Koldo Fernandez but they weren't able to chase the break of the day down. Anton started as one of the favourites but he already lost more than 3 minutes. Antton Luengo became last :(

1 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) Acqua & Sapone 3.24.45 (43.96 km/h)
2 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0.18
3 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.21
5. Iñigo Landaluze +0:33
40. Alan Perez +2:36
43. Ivan Velasco +2:36
64. Aitor Hernandez +2:36
111. Igor Anton +3:15
114. Jorge Azanza +3:15
120.Koldo Fernandez +3:15
143. Antton Luengo +9:37

dinsdag 5 augustus 2008

Burgos line-up

Koldo Fernandez and Igor Anton will be the biggest hopes for a victory in the upcoming Vuelta a Burgos. Although the parcours might not be hard enough for Igor. The others that have to surprise us and the team are Aitor Galdos, Jorge Azanza, Aitor Hernandez, Iñigo Landaluze, Alan Perez and Ivan Velasco.

maandag 4 augustus 2008

Subida a Urkiola : Gorka 10th

Although Euskaltel participated in the Subida a Urkiola, they were never visible. Not one guy attacked or lead the peloton and that's quite disappointing. Igor Anton and Amets Txurruka were the two leaders of the squad but on the last climb they both had to let go very quickly. The only Euskaltel rider that could really convince was Gorka Verdugo. He took a 10th spot and rode a good climb.

1. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 3:50:11
2. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Scott +0:06
3. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Burgos Monumental +0:26
10. Gorka Verdugo +1:39
22. Amets Txurruka +2:42
36. Igor Anton +4:08
40. Aitor Hernandez +4:32
45. Juan Jose Oroz +4:50
54. Markel Irizar +7:05
62. Beñat Albizuri +8:24
74. Jon Bru +10:45

zaterdag 2 augustus 2008

San Sebastian : Samuel 7th & Haimar 9th

Euskaltel definitely made the race in the most important Basque race of the year, the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastiàn. And once again, Euskaltel lacks someone to finish it off.

Euskaltel made the pace in the break of 47 riders that took off after a quite boring start. Among them Samuel Sanchez, Haimar, Gorka, Ruben Perez and Alan Perez. When Alejandro Valverde attacked after the Jaizkibel, Samuel got him back and even attacked and he got away together with Valverde, Rebellin, Moncoutié and Bettini. Sadly this attack couldn't continue and 8 other riders joined the group, among them pacemakers for Valverde. Haimar tried to get away in the last kilometres but the sprint couldn't be avoided. Alejandro Valverde won that sprint, Samuel became 7th and Haimar 9th, two seconds down on Valverde.

1. Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 5:29:11
2. Alexander Kolobnev Team CSC ST
3. Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner ST
7. Samuel Sanchez ST
9. Haimar Zubeldia +0:02
24. Gorka Verdugo +1:48
35. Ruben Perez +9:34
45. Alan Perez +15:52