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