zondag 27 december 2009

Newbies will open year Down Under

Only 22 days to go and the real cycling fans can finally come out of their winter sleep and enjoy professional cycling again. Just like recent years, the 2010 season will take of in the hot and beautiful country of Australia. And Euskaltel immediately has a new year's present for its fans, we will get to see all the newbies in action! The one to watch will of course be Romain Sicard, who will ride his first ProTour race as a World Champion. He will be joined by Jonathan Castroviejo, Jon Izaguirre, Miguel Minguez and Daniel Sesma, who will also defend the orange colours for the first time. Young and promising Mikel Nieve will also be present and the most experienced will be Ivan Velasco with his 4th year riding with Euskaltel. I can't wait for the season to start at 19 january!

dinsdag 24 november 2009

Iban Mayoz to Fuji

Like Haimar Zubeldia, another ex-rider from Euskaltel found a new team for 2010. Iban Mayoz rode two years for Xacobeo-Galicia but will represent the colours of the 'haunted' team Footon-Servetto next year.

Haimar to Team RadioShack

Just like with Alberto Contador, there were some troubles with the transfer to another team for ex-Euskaltel rider Haimar Zubeldia, but as was said during the Tour de France already, Haimar will follow Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and others to the new ProTour team lead by Johan Bruyneel. Haimar said to Biciciclismo that being in a team with Johan Bruyneel was the ultimate reason for him since he had always admired Bruyneel's skills of directing a team.

maandag 2 november 2009

Ivan Velasco: 'It has been a tough year'

-What has been the best moment of the season?
The truth is that I haven't got much luck this year with injuries and diseases, but although I wasn't yet at top level, I was very pleased with the Tour of Switzerland.
-What would you like to remember and forget about this year on personal level?
Personally it has been a hard year. I have learned a lot on psychological level, especially to become better after a hard period, that would I like to remember. I would forget the fracture of three ribs I had during the Vuelta a la Rioja and the training in July.
-Facing 2010, what are your hopes?
For 2010, the only thing I hope to do is to show my top level, which I haven't been able to this year.

woensdag 28 oktober 2009

Beñat Intxausti WILL come to Euskaltel!

It was anounced today that Beñat Intxausti will ride for Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2010. Apparently there is an agreement between the basque rider and his former team boss Mauro Gianetti. Beñat already mentioned that he's happy to finally ride for his own 'tierra', but what will happen with Jorge Azanza. He was the one who got in the team because Beñat didn't, but what will happen with him now? We will find out soon probably...

dinsdag 27 oktober 2009

3 questions for Alan Pérez

Euskaltel asked the same three questions to Alan Pérez, here is what he answered.

-What was the best moment of the season?
The Tour de France and the Vuelta. In both races the team shone and obtained some great results. Personally I didn't have a lot of luck, but I was happy to contribute my part to those achievements.
-What do you want to remember and forget on personal level?
I will remember that I got the chance to participate in the Tour the France, the race that looked the hardest of the whole season to me, but I loved it. I would like to forget the several falls and injuries I had during important parts of my season.
-Facing 2010, what are your intentions?
To do the same for the team as I did this year and to grow as a cyclist. If I have some luck and great form, I would like to take maximum advantage of that.

woensdag 21 oktober 2009

3 questions for Jorge Azanza

It was a close call for Jorge Azanza, but due to the fact that Beñat Intxausti unfortunately won't come to Euskaltel next year because of troubles with his team Fuji, he got a place in the team for 2010. Euskaltel gave him three questions and this is what he answered:

- What was the best moment of the season?
In the beginning of the season I felt great and I was present in a lot of escapes unfortunately I couldn't win anything. I felt good until the Vuelta a Burgos.
-What do you want to remember and forget on personal level?
It hasn't been a great year for me on personal level, but I look at the future with a good feeling. I noticed this year that I can do good in a lot of stages and I can fight for the victory. I would like to forget the physical problems I had after the Vuelta a Burgos.
-What are your intentions for 2010?
I hope to stay healthy and that my talent will show in some races.

zondag 18 oktober 2009

Sammy splendid in Lombardy

The season is almost over, the leaves are falling from the trees, the sprinters already put an end to their season and that's when you get one of the most beautiful races of the season, the Tour of Lombardy. And just like the last two years, Samuel Sanchez made clear that this was a race for him. He stayed with the favourites until the top favourite Philippe Gilbert got away on the last climb. That was the sign for Samuel to go too and he rode without too much difficulty to the belgian. The two of them rode to the finish but at the end it was unfortunately Philippe Gilbert who had the fastest sprint and won, but at least we saw that Sammy was still in great condition and could have won this race, maybe next year!

Samuel said after his race: I went away with probably the best man in the field, Philippe Gilbert. He is able to beat real sprinters like he did with Tom Boonen in Paris-Tours. He is in top form and I'm getting a little bit tired after an exhausting Vuelta d'España. Overall I'm very happy with this season because I showed consistency and I showed a great level of racing. Now I can get a little bit of rest and prepare for 2010!

1. Philippe Gilbert SILENCE 5:43:45
3. Alexandr Kolobnex SAXO BANK +0:07
54. Ivan Velasco +2:53
71. Javier Aramendia +4:04
83. Aitor Hernandez +6:02
96. Iñaki Isasi +8:00

donderdag 8 oktober 2009

Euskaltel in 2010

Up till now Euskaltel has 23 riders contracted for 2010. Here's an overview:

Stayers (17): Anton, Aramendia, De Lis, Fernandez, Galdos, Hernandez, Isasi, Martinez, Nieve, Oroz, Pérez, Pérez, Sanchez, Txurruka, Urtasun, Velasco and Verdugo

Newbies (6): Jonathan Castroviejo, Daniel Sesma, Miguel Mínguez and Romain Sicard(Orbea), Gorka Izagirre (Contentpolis) and Beñat Intxausti (Fuji)

Insecure (3): Josu Agirre, Jorge Azanza and Andoni Lafuente

Fired (3): Iñigo Landaluze, Markel Irizar and Mikel Astarloza

Sammy in Paris-Tours

Samuel Sanchez will lead the orange Euskaltel squad in the upcoming french race Paris-Tours. He will be assisted by Aitor Galdos, Iñaki Isasi, Ivan Velasco, Markel Irizar, Aitor Hernandez, Jorge Azanza and Javier Aramendia. Last year Samuel Sanchez was the best of the Euskaltel guys on a 28th place.

Rubén Pérez: 'Next year I want to win a stage'

Biciciclismo had a little interview with Rubén Pérez and here is what he said:
-Which has been the best moment of the season?
Definitely the races in Murcia and Castilla y Leon. I saw that winning a stage was possible and it gave me a lot of strength. Sometimes I was in a better shape but then the speed somehow went away.
-On personal level, what do you want to remember and what do you want to forget about 2009?
I will remember a lot of good moments, all the stages where I was satisfied to fulfill my job, even though I didn't get a victory or came in the public spotlights. Those days you are happy because you can do your work every day. I would want to forget the moment when I became ill in April, but that's part of the job.
-What are your intentions for 2010?
Most of all I want to make that extra step and win a race. Next to that I want to keep progressing and keep on racing.

dinsdag 6 oktober 2009

Markel Irizar to Radio Shack?

According to the Diario Vasco and Biciciclismo Markel Irizar will ride for the new Lance Armstrong team, Radio Shack, next year. Of course we all know that Lance Armstrong and Markel Irizar since they both survived testicle cancer (if I'm not mistaken) and that during Markel's recovery Lance sent a message to support him. Of course he will also meet Haimar Zubeldia again because he's following Lance too! In my opinion this could help Markel to improve his time trialling skills even more!

maandag 5 oktober 2009

No gloria en el Tour de Vendee

Euskaltel & Koldo Fernandez couldn't repeat the succes they achieved in last year's Tour de Vendee. But at least they gave it all. When at 40 kilometres a group left, the guys did everything to neutralise the group, but it was just too hard to control. Koldo was the best of the bunch and came in on a 16th place, before good sprinters as Feillu and Geslin.

1. Pavel Brutt Katusha 4:38:40
2. Mathieu Ladagnous +0:10
3. Thomas Voeckler +0:10
16. Koldo Fernandez +0:21
71. Aitor Galdos +1:17
75. Ivan Velasco +2:01
76. Iñaki Isasi +2:01

zondag 4 oktober 2009

Ready for the Vendee!

There aren't much races left for the 2009 season, but today the Tour de Vendee is held in France. For most of us, this seems like a pretty unimportant race, but let's not forget that Koldo Fernandez won there last year and he will definitely try and do that again. This year he will be accompanied by Iñaki Isasi, Aitor Hernández, Aitor Galdos, Jorge Azanza, Javier Aramendía, Andoni Lafuente and Ivan Velasco. A good sprinting team that will be 100 procent behind Koldo!

dinsdag 29 september 2009

Sammy to ride the Tour in 2010

Samuel Sanchez has already announced that he will ride the Tour de France next year. Igor Galdeano said 'Now that he finished third and second in the Vuelta, it will be the time for him to try the Tour once again next year. The first part of the season will consist of Paris-Nice, la Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the northern classics and then he will concentrate on both Tour and Vuelta. It's clear that we are a team born for the Tour de France and we will try to give it all".

This year Sammy has three races left to do, Paris - Tours, Giro di Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia. I hope he can get the victory in that last classic, as I love the race and Samuel came close to the victory before!

maandag 28 september 2009

SamSan 4th at WC

World Championships are probably the most stressful races of the year. You get a 7 hours broadcast but you know only the last our depends, you know only the last lap really matters, that's when your heartbeat goes up to an impossible rate and you just feel history will be made. That's what happened yesterday and it was incredibly thrilling to see that our favourite Samuel Sanchez was in great shape, the best of the Spaniards I think. He stayed in the wheel of Fabian Cancellara and never let go. At a certain moment it looked like the two would get away but the small bunch of favourites came back. When the final cut was made, Samu had to stay because Rodriguez was already there. That way he couldn't compete for the victory and missed out a great opportunity to become world champion. But at least he rode a great race and I'm sure he will get other opportunities in the futur!

zondag 27 september 2009

Romain Sicard World Champion!

What we all hoped, came true yesterday! Next year Euskaltel will at least have on World Champion among their men. The French Basque Romain Sicard won the under 23 title in an amazing way, after winning the Tour de l'Avenir only one month ago. In the last twenty kilometres he attacked together with Michel Kreder from The Netherlands but on the last climb of the day Romain was too strong and road solo to the world title. A nice way to enter the prof peloton next year, I would say. Hopefully he can admit to the pace in the prof peloton and show us what he's really worth! Jonathan Castroviejo ended on a good 13th spot, Gorka Izagirre 47th.

vrijdag 25 september 2009

4 representatives at the WC!

As you probably all now, this weekend the World Championships are held in the beautiful Suisse city Mendrisio. The time trial has already been won by who else than Fabian Cancellara, but the road race promises to become a more exciting race. Samuel Sanchez will represent Euskaltel and as I see it he will be the second leader of the team, right after Valverde. When the parcours will be hard enough and Valverde, as usual, doesn't get in the right place, it will be up to Samsan to go for the victory, just at the Olympics.
The younger riders will also fight for a World Champions title, that one for boys under 23 years. Here Euskaltel will be presented by Romain Sicard, winner of the Tour de l'Avenir, Jonathan Castroviejo, stage winner in the Tour de l'Avenir, and Gorka Izagirre. This race will be hard to predict but I think our guys definitely have a chance. It would be nice to have a young World Champion in our team!

woensdag 9 september 2009

Intxausti and Izagirre are coming home!

Great news on the transfer front for Euskaltel. Next year our orange troops will be stronger by adding two young and promising guys to it. Gorka Izagirre is a 21-year old guy with a lot of grinta and I'm sure he can evolve to a great one-day racer. The other one you'll probably know already ... Beñat Intxausti. Named one of the most promising Spanish riders, but in my opinion not taken good care of with Saunier Duval/Fuji. I would love to see what he can do with Euskaltel. So we already have Sicard, Izagirre and Intxausti, now I would also like Castroviejo :D

zaterdag 5 september 2009

Sicard & Castroviejo in Tour de l'Avenir

Today the Tour de l'Avenir started, probably the most important race for young stage riders in the world. Ar first sight this might not be interesting for us, but Romain Sicard the guy that already has a contract with Euskaltel is competing. And he immediately impressed everyone by getting second in the first stage. It became a sprint with another good french rider Bérard but unfortunately he couldn't beat him. There were also two other interesting riders there cause there are rumours they would join Euskaltel too. Jonathan Castroviejo became 39th, Gorka Izaguirre gave up.

donderdag 3 september 2009

Aitor H. King of he mountains

Finally we got some action from Euskaltel in the Vuelta. In the fifth stage Aitor Hernandez got in the right break and crossed the finish on the only climb of the day and got ten points for the mountains classification out of it, enough to get in the lead in that ranking. Besides that, it looks like the whole team is very motivated to make Sanchez win the Vuelta, Aupa!

woensdag 2 september 2009

Raindrops kept falling on their heads

The fourth Vuelta stage through The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium was coloured by some typical belgian weather. Due to the heavy rainfall, a lot of falls could be seen in the peloton and Egoi Martinez, Iñaki Isasi and Rubén Pérez were all part of a fall. Luckily without any real injuries. At the finish the whole peloton was spread because of a fall in the last two kilometres but no changes in the general rank. Samuel Sanchez came in first on a 25th spot.

1. Andre Greipel COLUMBIA 5:43:05
2. Wouter Weylandt QUICK STEP ST
3. Bert Grabsch COLUMBIA ST
25. Samuel Sanchez ST
62. Amets Txurruka ST
74. Igor Anton ST
81. Iñaki Isasi ST
134. Alan Perez ST
135. Aitor Hernandez +4:53
136. Markel Irizar+4:53
137. Egoi Martinez +4:53
175. Ruben Perez +8:09

dinsdag 1 september 2009

No balls no glory

We can be short about the performances of Euskaltel in the third stage of the Vuelta, not much. I know these ain't the stages Euskaltel is aiming for, but still a little bit of action would be nice. Iñaki Isasi was the first to cross the finish line on a 27th spot.

1. Greg Henderson COLUMBIA 4:41:01
3. Oscar Freire RABOBANK ST
27. Iñaki Isasi ST
60. Markel Irizar ST
70. Rubén Pérez ST
83. Samuel Sanchez ST
123. Igor Anton ST
145. Alan Perez ST
147. Aitor Hernandez ST
157. Amets Txurruka ST

zondag 30 augustus 2009

Sammy loses time already

Since the Vuelta is starting in The Netherlands this year, the orange is representated by the Rabobank guys at the moment and not by Euskaltel. That became clear in today's first real stage because the Euskaltel guys kept theirselves low profile. Unfortunatly at the end everything came down to a sprint, won by Gerald Ciolek, but the peloton was ripped into pieces and Samuel lost 18 seconds to other favourites like Valverde and Mosquera.

1. Gerald Ciolek MILRAM 4:43:12
2. Fabio Sabatini LIQUIGAS ST
3. Roger Hammond CERVELO ST
49. Iñaki Isasi ST
69. Ruben Perez ST
91. Samuel Sanchez +0:18
113. Aitor Hernandez +0:18
123. Alan Perez +0:29
130. Markel Irizar +0:30
135. Igor Anton +0:30
139. Amets Txurruka +0:30

Sammy ok in opening prologue

Our big favourite for the end victory in this year's Vuelta d'España, Sammy Sanchez got off to a good start in the opening prologue in Assen. On the TT circuit he finished 29th 24 seconds down on winner Cancellara, which is an ok start. He wasn't the best Euskaltel rider though! Markel Irizar finished on a good 23th spot 23 seconds down on the Suisse TT-specialist. After the race Samuel said that he was very happy with this race cause there was a lot of wind but he still got among the main favourites.

1. Fabian Cancellara SAXO BANK 5:20
2. Tom Boonen QUICK STEP +0:09
3. Tyler Farrar GARMIN +0:12
23. Markel Irizar +0:23
29. Samuel Sanchez +0:24
79. Aitor Hernandez +0:32
113. Alan Perez +0:36
115. Rubén Pérez +0:36
120. Igor Anton +0:37
133. Egoi Martinez +0:40
149. Amets Txurruka +0:42
155. Iñaki Isasi +0:44

vrijdag 28 augustus 2009

SamSan ready for the Vuelta!

It looks like everyone is ready for the upcoming Vuelta. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano told that the team is strong and is ready to work their ass off for Samuel. Also Samuel Sanchez himself believes that he can win this Vuelta. He knows that he got more power and more experience thatn in 2007, when he became 3rd. Even dutch cycling magazines believe in him, they are calling him the top favourite together with Alejandro Valverde!

woensdag 19 augustus 2009

Eneco Tour off to a bad start

Yesterday the most interesting tours of all, the Eneco Tour, started with a team from Euskaltel. Big shot of the team is Koldo Fernandez who should be able to place himself good in all the upcoming stages, since they are all sprint stages. It started with a prologue, but nobody could really convince. Juanjo Oroz was the first to finish on a 45th place.

1. Sylvain Chavanel QUICK STEP 4:55
2. Tyler Farrar GARMIN +0:01
3. Tom Boonen QUICK STEP +0:01
45. Juan José Oroz +0:14
91. Josu Agirre +0:20
97. Javier Aramendia +0:21
127. Pablo Urtasun +0:25
134. Koldo Fernandez +0:26
145. Sergio De Lis +0:28
157. Aitor Galdos +0:34

woensdag 12 augustus 2009

Euskaltel ready for the Vuelta

Euskaltel is (almost) ready for the upcoming Vuelta that begins at the end of August. Of course Samuel Sanchez will be the leader of the team, but with Igor Anton we have another general rank contender who could come pretty far in the mountains. Egoi Martinez, Ruben Perez, Alan Perez, Iñaki Isasi, Markel Irizar, Aitor Hernandez and Amets Txurruka will have to help the two leaders as much as possible, but also attack like we're used to from them. The name of Amets isn't yet 100 procent sure since he's still not in great shape after his fall in the Tour. He could be replaced by Jorge Azanza or Pablo Urtasun.

vrijdag 7 augustus 2009

Azanza out in Burgos

The second stage in the Vuelta a Burgos wasn't as succesful as the first one. Jorge Azanza had to drop out because of problems with his digestion system and it became clear that Samuel Sanchez isn't ready yet for the Vuelta. He was the first to cross the finish line on a 18th spot, 17 seconds down on winner Rodriguez. The third stage will again be one for the sprinters! Aupa Koldo!

1. Joaquim Rodriguez CAISSE 3:36:51
2. Ben Hermans TOPSPORT +0:01
3. Alejandro Valverde CAISSE +0:01
18. Samuel Sa,chez +0:17
21. Romain Sicard +0:18
22. Pablo Urtasun +0:18
23. Juan José Oroz +0:18
29. Iñaki Isasi +0:27
31. Mikel Nieve +0:28
73. Gorka Verdugo +1:36
93. Koldo Fernandez +2:31

donderdag 6 augustus 2009

Koldo takes the win in Burgos

Koldo Fernandez is in great shape! After his win in Getxo last week, he now won the first stage in the Vuelta a Burgos. Just like in Getxo the team did very good work keeping everything together and Koldo finished it with Pablo Urtasun finishing 4th! To be honest the sprint competition is not that strong, but still every win is a win!

1. Koldo Fernandez EUSKALTEL 3:28:14
2. Enrique Mata BURGOS ST
3. Nicholas Maes TOPSPORT ST
4. Pablo Urtasun ST
44. Juan José Oroz ST
69. Samuel Sanchez ST
79. Mikel Nieve ST
81. Gorka Verdugo ST
97. Iñaki Isasi ST
108. Jorge Azanza +7:55

zondag 2 augustus 2009

Romain Sicard joints Euskaltel

This might be old news for you, but I apparently missed this while I was on vacation. Romain Sicard will ride in the orange jersey for the next two jears. He's a talented young guy from the Orbea cycling team who already won two races this year, the Subida al Naranco and a stage in the Tour de l'Isard. Romain is from France so he will also bring a nice diversity to the team. I hope he will get selected for the Tour de l'avenir so we can see what he's really worth but I have confidence in him!

Great basque races but overshadowed

Euskaltel rode fantastically great in the four basque races this week: Ordizia, Getxo, San Sebastian and Urkiola. They managed to win two of them and that makes them of course the best team cause they rode together as one! In Ordizia Pablo Urtasun won the bunch sprint for the third place after great work from the team, in Getxo Koldo finished some very good team work off by wining his second victory in 2009. In the Clasica San Sebastian it was Rubén Pérez who impressed by finishing 9th and the week was closed by Igor Anton winning the Subida a Urkiola crossing the finish line solo. What a results! Unfortunately this news is completely overshadowed by the news about Mikel, but I would say enjoy these victories and let's wait in silence untill the results of Mikel's B-sample return.

vrijdag 31 juli 2009

Mikel doped too

After a day that started so good with the win of Koldo Fernandez in the Circuito de Getxo, the news was released that Mikel Astarloza doped himself before the Tour de France. He was set on non-active by the team.

I'm deeply shocked and I'm going to take some time to think about what to do with this blog. I was kind of upset and discouraged after the news of Iñigo but I just can't describe what I'm feeling at the moment.

donderdag 23 juli 2009

Mikel keeps on rising

This Tour de France has become a fairytale for Mikel Astarloza and it just keeps on going on. After the heavy queens stage yesterday, there was a tough time trial ahead. Mikel did a pretty good job finishing 20th, only 3 seconds behind Andy Schleck and leaving behind great riders like Sastre, Menchov and Kreuziger. Now all what's left for him is the stage with the Mont Ventoux and if he can cope that, he will be 9th in Paris! For the others tomorrow will be a day of attacks, I'll suspect one of them, Alan or Juanjo, will go in the attack and maybe even make it to the finish. Let's hope so!

Mikel 10th in GC

After his fabulous win in the 16th stage, Mikel was able to follow the second groupe with a lot of grinta in the queens stage of this years Tour de France. Carlos Sastre dropped out of the top 10 and was replaced by Mikel. Of course this is great but there are still two big hurdles to take, the time trial of today and the Mont Ventoux. Hopefully he will still have all his power in the time trial cause he got some strong competitors like Kreuziger, Nocentini and Sastre. Aupa!

dinsdag 21 juli 2009

Mikel con las manos al aire!

Unbelievable, fantastic, amazing, super. All the words I can't think of at this moment. Mikel did it, he finally won something, and not just anything, a stage in the biggest event of the year The Tour de France! Together with Anton and Verdugo he got once again in an early break. At the last climb of the day it didn't look to good when Van den Broucke and Pellizotti took off, but on his own strength he was able to join them. Just before the top also Moinard was able to come back and the four of them were off for a thrilling descent. Four of the guys that weren't able to follow the four leaders did their best to get back and at 3 kilometres before the finish it looked like they were able to come back. Moinard took off but he didn't get away. Then it was time for our Mikel to try his luck and the other guys all had to pass. He got away and rood like he never did before and won the stage. With a victory sign of relief and satisfaction he conquered the Tour and said to the world that he's not just a loser, but a great rider! What a great moment for himself, Euskaltel and of course all the fans!

maandag 20 juli 2009

Mikel drops in GC

Finally! That's the first word that comes to my mind after seeing yesterday's stage. All the bullshit can stop about Armstrong vs. Contador, now it's very clear that Contador is the strongest and no one will beat him, he's just the greatest stage rider at the moment. Just to get that out of my system, back to Euskaltel. For Euskaltel the day wasn't as good as we wished. Egoi and Mikel both went in the attack. Mikel of course did this to anticipate for the final climb or to get some time back in the hopes that the break would stay away. After some battles Egoi and Franco Pellizotti decided to drop out of the break because they probably were tired after the fierce fights that week. Unfortunatly the break didn't get a lead out and Mikel clearly gave it all, so he couldn't follow the best riders. He came in 21th and is now 19th in the GC. Also Igor Anton is coming through as he finished 16th and room for improving.

Stage Result
1. Alberto Contador ASTANA 5:03:58
2. Andy Schleck SAXO BANK +0:43
3. Vincenzo Nibali LIQUIGAS +1:03
16. Igor Anton +2:33
21. Mikel Astarloza +2:41
31. Amets Txurruka +3:43
59. Haimar Zubeldia +6:22
71. Gorka Verdugo +7:41
89. Alan Perez +12:11
90. Ruben Perez +12:11
93. Egoi Martinez +12:11
139. Juan José Oroz +18:12

General Classification
1. Alberto Contador ASTANA 63:17:56
2. Lance Armstrong ASTANA +1:37
3. Bradley Wiggins GARMIN +1:46
19. Mikel Astarloza +5:37
28. Haimar Zubeldia +10:30
43. Amets Txurruka +21:18
65. Igor Anton +41:49
66. Gorka Verdugo +42:57
93. Juan José Oroz +1:08:49
105. Ruben Perez +1:15:54
141. Alan Perez +1:49:35

zondag 19 juli 2009

Iñigo admits and quits cycling

Iñigo Landaluze has confessed that he doped himself. 'I'm the only person responsable for this and I want to make clear that Euskaltel has nothing to do with this' he responded to ABC.es. After the news was released by the UCI that he took CERA, the new generation of doping, he announced that he won't wait for the B-sample and quits cycling. As a reason for his mistake he said that he wanted to make the Tour, cause he was in the preselection. But there were found weird values of certain substances in his urine so the team took him out of the preselection and put him on non-active. Nothing to blame Euskaltel for because their method of control can't detect CERA apparently.

zaterdag 18 juli 2009

Pablo Urtasun 7th in Madrid

Euskaltel had a very active day in Madrid. First of all Pablo Urtasun got in a break of 13 riders but this one didn't last. Then it was up to Javier Aramendia who got in the right break together with 11 other riders. They never got more than 2 minutes advantage and were taken back only three kilometres before the finish. In the sprint Pablo Urtasun was able to place himself on a nice 7th place.

1. Francisco Ventoso CARMIOORO 4:11:41
2. Aaron Kemps ROCK RACING ST
3. Francisco Pacheco CONTENTPOLIS ST
7. Pablo Urtasun ST
31. Sergio De Lis ST
45. Aitor Hernandez ST
70. Mikel Nieve ST
71. Josu Agirre ST
98. Javier Aramendia ST

Egoi loses mountain jersey

Euskaltel was omnipresent in the 13th stage of the Tour de France. First of all Rubén Pérez was in the break of the day and was able to follow Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler, but on the category one climb he had to let go the other two. Then Amets went in the attack with Brice Feillu. In my opinion a bit too late cause it was clear that he was very good but the gap with winner Haussler was just too big, he came in second more than 4 minutes down. The worst news came from Egoi Martinez who lost his mountains jersey. On the first climb he was able to outsprint Franco Pellizotti but then he had to let go the peloton and couldn't defend his jersey anymore. He's now 4 points behind, still able to take it back in the stages this weekend.

1. Heinrich Haussler CERVELO 4:56:26
2. Amets Txurruka EUSKALTEL +4:11
3. Brice Feillu AGRITUBEL +6:13
28. Mikel Astarloza +6:43
54. Gorka Verdugo +6:43
56. Haimar Zubeldia +6:43
61. Igor Anton +6:43
71. Egoi Martinez +7:12
80. Rubén Pérez +7:43
108. Alan Perez +20:21
109. Juan José Oroz +20:21

vrijdag 17 juli 2009

Prologue in Vuelta a Madrid

Euskaltel is not only active on french ground at the moment, they are also competing in the Vuelta a Madrid. There everything started with a 8.1-kilometre long prologue. Josu Agirre, Aitor Hernandez and Pablo Urtasun all gave their all but ended on a 19th, 20th and 26th position. Two other stages are yet to come, hopefully they can take home one, cause we really need a victory!

1. Hector Guerra Liberty Seguros 09:57
2. Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne +0:23
3. Xavier Tondo Andalucia +0:25
19. Josu Agirre +0:46
20. Aitor Hernandez +0:47
26. Pablo Urtasun +0:50
44. Javier Aramendia +0:58
54. Sergio De Lis +1:04
57. Mikel Nieve +1:05
109. Andoni Lafuente +1:49

Iñigo Landaluze caught for using CERA

Before the official message of the UCI, Euskaltel released a mail stating their opinion about Iñigo Landaluze. The 32-year old rider from Algorta was caught for using CERA during this year's Dauphiné Libéré. He was already held out of the Spanish Championships and won't ride for Euskaltel anymore untill more details are revealed. It's not the first time that Landaluze got caught. In 2005, after his win in the Dauphiné Libéré, he was also suspended but after some lawyer work, he could stay in the team. Of course this news will hurt all Euskaltel fans, but in these hard times for cycling, the 'bad' guys have to leave.

Egoi still king of the mountains

It has been two quite boring days in the Tour de France. Yesterday Egoi went in the attack because his biggest opponent Franco Pellizotti attacked to get the mountains jersey. On all the mountains Franco was able to beat Egoi, but he still has a lead of 18 points but I'm sure Franco will keep on attacking. Aupa Egoi!

woensdag 15 juli 2009

Another rest day for Euskaltel

It was a quiet day for Euskaltel in the stage from Limoges to Issoudun. In the sprint Ruben Perez placed himself 18th, but it shows that he hasn't got the strength yet to compete with the big guys. Mikel Astarloza lost 15 seconds due to a stupid break in the peloton and is now placed 18th in the general rank.

1. Mark Cavendish Columbia 4:46:43
2. Thor Hushovd Cervélo ST
3. Tyler Farrar Garmin ST
18. Ruben Perez ST
42. Egoi Martinez ST
68. Mikel Astarloza +0:15
114. Gorka Verdugo +0:15
115. Igor Anton +0:15
116. Amets Txurruka +0:15
134. Alan Perez +0:15
147. Juan José Oroz +0:15

dinsdag 14 juli 2009

Mixed feelings about first Tourweek

The first week of the Tour de France has been one of ups and downs for everyone, and also for Euskaltel. Koldo hasn't been able to place himself in a sprint and in one of the Pyrenees stages he came in outside the time limit all by himself. Mikel Astarloza lost some time because of a fall, but was able to take the time back with a good stage in the Pyrenees where he became onfortunate third after Luis Léon Sanchez and Sandy Casar after he gave everything to reel Efimkin back in. Juan José Oroz is also riding a good Tour, finishing before the grupetto's in the mountain stages. Amets Txurruka has been himself, attacking in almost every stage, but also helping other team members like Egoi Martinez. He made the sun shine for Euskaltel by getting the mountains jersey in the last stage, although he let go 20 points on the Tourmalet which I don't understand. Astana-rider, but still Euskaltel in our hearts, Haimar Zubeldia has been riding his ass of for Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, I never saw him riding in front of the peloton that much!

General Rank
1. Rinaldo Nocentini AG2R 34:24:21
2. Alberto Contador Astana +0:06
3. Lance Armstrong Astana +0:08
17. Mikel Astarloza +3:02
22. Haimar Zubeldia +4:14
48. Egoi Martinez +15:30
54. Amets Txurruka +20:13
77. Juan José Oroz +34:51
79. Gorka Verdugo +35:22
85. Igor Anton +39:02
105. Ruben Perez +52:49
161. Alan Perez +1:23:52

maandag 6 juli 2009

Holiday time

I know I've only just started again with posting, but it's time for me to take some vacation and completely relax. Of course I will keep on following the Tour and support our orange guys in the hopes of winning a stage. Aupa!

zondag 5 juli 2009

Injury day for Euskaltel

It was a bad first day for Euskaltel in the Tour de France. After a good start from Amets and Igor on the first mountain, Igor and Alan fell down, luckily only leaving some scratches. Then all went well for Koldo in the sprint until 900 metres when he caused a crash and he also took other sprinters like Boonen and Freire out of competition. He hasn't made himself popular, if you ask me. Fortunately he didn't get a real injury, just some bruises and scratches. Mikel still maintained his 12th spot in the general.
1. Mark Cavendish Team Columbia 4:30:02
2. Tyler Farrar Garmin ST
3. Romain Feillu Agritubel ST
21. Alan Perez ST
33. Egoi Martinez ST
39. Mikel Astarloza ST
65. Juan José Oroz ST
68. Igor Anton ST
72. Ruben Perez ST
110. Amets Txurruka ST
124. Haimar Zubeldia ST
126. Gorka Verdugo ST
177. Koldo Fernandez ST

Mikel opens Tour with 12th spot

Mikel Astarloza is on track for his goal, a top ten position in the Tour de France. In the opening prologue he finished 12th, 44 seconds behind the expected winner Fabian Cancellara. He left some important names behind him like the Schleck brothers, Menchov, Kirchen and last year's winner Sastre. The other guys all performed like they used to, Oroz did good too with a 30th spot. Koldo saved himself for the sprint of tomorrow, where he will have to face big guns like Cavendish, Freire, Boonen, Hushovd and other Tyler Farrars.

1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank 19:32
2. Alberto Contador Astana +0:18
3. Bradley Wiggins Garmin +0:19
12. Mikel Astarloza +0:44
30. Juan Jose Oroz +01:14
32. Gorka Verdugo +01:15
54. Haimar Zubeldia +1:31
69. Igor Anton +1:38
82. Amets Txurruka +1:45
115. Egoi Martinez +1:59
145. Ruben Perez +2:19
162. Alan Perez +2:35
168. Koldo Fernandez +2:40

dinsdag 30 juni 2009

New bike for the Tour

Especially for the Tour de France Orbea made a new bike to support our guys in the next weeks. A nice model if you ask me!

Ready for the Tour!

This saturday the biggest cycling event of the year will start and of course, as the most important team, Euskaltel will be present. These are the 9 riders that will represent our beloved orange jersey and hopefully make us proud.
  • Igor Anton: After the Spanish Championships it looks like he's getting in shape, he probably won't go for the general rank, but I see him getting in a break in a mountain stage somewhere in the last week and then he should be able to finish it. Maybe he can show us something on the Mont Ventoux, where he became second once in the Dauphiné.
  • Mikel Astarloza: I'm not sure what to expect from him. Just like Anton he rode a great Spanish Championships, but it's so hard for him to finish anything so hoping for a stage win is difficult. In the general it will even get tougher to get a top 10 spot, looking at all the big guns that will be at the start.
  • Koldo Fernandez: It won't be easy for Koldo to win a sprint in the Tour, it's after all the biggest race of the year and all the great sprinters will be present, wel except maybe Boonen. Maybe he should just try to get in the right break and then finish it off in a small group.
  • Egoi Martinez: Of course we can expect to get some attacks from this man. After his leader's jersey in the Vuelta, I'm sure he wants to show something in the Tour too and after his missed stage win at Prato Nevoso last year, he will definitely want to take revenge.
  • Juan José Oroz: I'm excited to see what this young man will be able to see. He rode a good Tour de Suisse where he stayed with the big guns for quite a while, so maybe when he doesn't have to work too hard for the team, he can try something on his own.
  • Alan Perez: I'm always anxious to see what Alan will do. He has definitely the potential to gain a stage, but it just never works out for him. Just like Oroz, if he doesn't have to work for the team, he should be able to get in a break and with a good sprint finish it off.
  • Rubén Pérez: Rubén will probably the one that will have to help Koldo in the sprints, but of course with his newborn sprinting skills, he can try it on his own too, although I don't think he has already the experience to beat Cavendish, Freire ... but a top 10 position is possible.
  • Amets Txurruka: Our most competitive rider of 2007 will probably be aiming for some good attacks and with his power I'm sure he could be able to win a stage. Last year he gave it all for the team and he'll probably do the same this year.
  • Gorka Verdugo: Good-old Gorka is of course a master gregario for Mikel and Igor in the mountains. Individual he hasn't been able to improve a lot after his good start of the year in 2008, but hopefully this can change.

So you see, a lot of potential and let's hope for the best. AUPA!

zondag 28 juni 2009

The Spanish Championships

This weekend Euskaltel participated in the Spanish Championships. First up was the time-trial and only three of our orange guys had the guts to test themselves here. The brave ones were of course Markel Irizar and youngsters Josu Agirre and Javier Aramendia. Although Markel couldn't life up to his expectations after some good time trials in the Tour de Suisse, he became 13th, Josu 16th and Javier 20th, but keep in mind the olympic spirit 'Participating is more important than winning!' (yeah rights :p)

In the road race Euskaltel showed up with a 15-head strong bunch full of motivated riders. With the hilly ride there were some chances for the more advanced climbers. Early in the race Irizar, Azanza, Martinez, Rubén and Josu all tried their luck but it was too early to keep a solid break. At the end Anton got away solo, but was joined by Valverde, Plaza, Zaballa and our Mikel Astarloza. The latter sprinted away in the last kilometres and just got passed in the final metres by Rubén Plaza. Once again no big shot for Euskadi, but still a good 3rd and 5th place!

zaterdag 6 juni 2009

Aitor Galdos going strong in Luxemburg

After a good opening time trial, a good sprint and a third spot in the third stage, Aitor Galdos is doing extremel well in the Tour of Luxemburg. With only two stages to go, he's now fourth in the general rank, only six seconds from leader Assan Bazayev. In the second stage, it was once again Rubén Pérez who competed for the sprint victory, coming in seventh.