Thursday, August 30, 2007

The silence

My guess: the B-sample is non-negative, and the UCI are now working their butts off to find out why the A-sample turned out positive. That's what I reckon is the most probable option at the moment. If it confirmed the finding of the first test, then why the delay? I can't see one reason why the UCI would want to do that if the B-test was also positive. But, hey, I don't know, I'm no doping expert. But this whole case just seems strange... If "Matxin", Iban's sports director at Saunier, is to be believed, something he most surely is, then the result should have been unveiled on Monday. That's almost four days ago. But why this silence from the UCI? Why don't they keep the fans up to date on the process? I'm struggling to come up with one single reason. Silence is never a good thing, but perhaps in this case it is. Let's hope so.

Euskaltel support anti-doping movement

Euskaltel is one of twelve Pro Tour teams which has agreed on tougher out-of-competition tests as of 2008. The program will see Euskaltel take 600 tests, 80 % of these being out of competition, for next season. The Professional Cycling Teams Association further stated after a anti-doping meeting that this new hard line on doping would commence in January 2008, and that all tests will be paid for by the respective teams. This initiative was welcomed with oper arms from WADA and the UCI. Great to see Euskaltel finally getting tough on the cheats. Aupa!

Samu looking forward to Vuelta

Samu Sánchez, who'll lead Euskaltel's charge in the upcoming Vuelta a España starting on Saturday, outlined his ambitions and expectations for the race to Basque daily GARA. Click and read:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The long wait

I don't know what to write to be honest. I just feel that I have a responsibility to keep you all up to date with Iban's B-sample testing. I'm sorry if my posts lack depth these days, but finding something to write about these days is hard to say the least. Iban, the UCI and the guys in Gent are all keeping their mouths shut, so nothing new to report, only that the testing process must surely have been finalized now. You can't test the same sample for more than a week and a half, so probably something has happened to the sample or perhaps it's gone missing. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to doping-tests in France and Belgium. Anyway, stay positive, and maybe there's a happy ending to all this mess. As long as there is life there is hope.

Mikel 19th overall as ENECO ends

The ENECO Tour came to an end today with a decisive 29,6 km long ITT. Although this isn't normally Euskaltel's playing ground, I reckon they did quite well today. Mikel once again showed good form by finishing 15th, claiming 19th overall in the process, while Rubén was 40th and Unai Etxebarria 49th. This meant Euskaltel got ranked 11th in today's team rankings, a position which is rather good I think. In the overall team rankings Euskaltel grabbed the same spot, resulting in Euskaltel only needing 2 points to leap-frog Gerolsteiner into 14th in the UCI team rankings. Complete stage results:
  • 15th, Mikel Astarloza, 1:04
  • 40th, Rubén Pérez, 2:10
  • 49th, Unai Etxebarria, 2:22
  • 73rd, Iban Mayoz, 3:00
  • 95th, Jorge Azanza, 3:35
  • 109th, Beñat Albizuri, 4:12
  • 114th, Joseba Zubeldia, 4:37
  • 126th, Aitor Galdos, 6:02

Final general classification:

  • 19th, Mikel Astarloza
  • 31st, Rubén Pérez
  • 44th, Beñat Albizuri
  • 59th, Iban Mayoz
  • 80th, Unai Etxebarria
  • 82nd, Jorge Azanza
  • 101st, Aitor Galdos
  • 108th, Joseba Zubeldia

Haimar's view on the Vuelta

Haimar has spoken at length to el Diario Vasco about the upcoming Vuelta a España. Click to read Haimar's view on "a very open race":

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another day goes by...

OK, I admit it, I have no idea when Iban's B-sample result will be made official. It's been a while... Though, it can only take so long, so I think every hour now is a possibility. But in a way it's good as well; that it's taking so long I mean. It's more good than bad if you are to analyze it. The chances that something doesn't add up, or that's something in the test doesn't make sense, gets bigger each day now. Though, I won't get my hopes up too much...

Aitor in the break, but still no success in ENECO

It turned out to be another fruitless day for Euskaltel in the ENECO Tour. The penultimate stage saw Aitor Galdos in the big break of the day, together with 11 others, but even though he looked strong, he didn't succeed. Four of his breakaway companions made it to the line ahead of the pack, but Aitor was sadly not among them. Aitor went out the back of the group with some 30 km remaining. Rubén once again showed good form though, and ended up 21st today. With one stage to go, an ITT (damn it...), he's 20th overall. Not bad Rubén! Mikel, Beñat, Mayoz and Unai Etxebarria also came in with the first peloton. Jorge came in 2:36 adrift, while Joseba and Aitor were both a whopping 7:10 down at the finish.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Status quo in ENECO

It was an uneventful day for Euskaltel riders and fans alike in the ENECO Tour's fifth stage today. No rider in the break, and no rider in the mix for the win. Aitor Galdos ended up as the team's best placed rider, coming in 24th, just ahead of Rubén in 26th and Beñat in 33rd. All riders but Joseba crossed the finishline with the pack today; Joseba arriving 17 seconds back. All this means that with two stages to go, Rubén is the best placed rider overall in 20th place, while the team is ranked a satisfying 10th in the team rankings.

B-sample mystery

What is happening to Iban's B-sample? Has it been stolen or something? The publication of Iban's B-sample result is turning in to a soap-opera. Could this go any slower? Get the finger out, UCI! When the result of the testing will be known is a mystery to me, but be sure that you'll find out first on Iban Mayo Blog if anything is happening. In the meantime, keep the faith. Aupa Iban!

Egoi returns!

Egoi Martínez has decided that Euskaltel is where he belongs, and has gladly put pen to paper on a two-year deal. Egoi turned down the possibility to ride for Saunier and Caisse d'Epargne, opting to join his former team. Egoi told Euskaltel's homepage shortly after signing: "I'm vey happy to return. I had good offers (from other teams as well), but the fact that Euskaltel's my home team played a big part in deciding where to go. Miguel Madariaga and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano explained their philosophy and ambitions for the team, the importance of acting like a team, and I'm glad to be one of Euskaltel's riders again. I return to the team which gave me a chance to turn pro, and I'll give it my best to repay their faith in me". Welcome home Egoi!

Vuelta roster completed

Euskaltel have finally decided the 9 riders that'll ride the Vuelta a España comencing this Saturday in Vigo. Alán Pérez, Aitor Hernández and Dioni Galparsoro secured the last three places on the team, with new-boy Juanjo Oroz missing out this time around. Those three will be joined by captain Samu Sánchez, Haimar, Iñigo, Igor, Koldo and Iñaki.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Galdos 12th in ENECO stage 4

Aitor Galdos finally showed himself in the ENECO Tour by claiming 12th on today's fourth stage. Aitor was OK placed leading up to the final hundred metres, but couldn't find the right wheel to follow. Nonetheless, he beat top-class sprinters like Haussler, Brown, Rodriguez and Cavendish, so his form seems to be good. Beñat was 22nd after watching out for Aitor in the last kilometres, but surprisingly, Mikel, Joseba, Mayoz and Jorge all came in after the pack. Mikel and Joseba were 14 seconds down, while the latter two came in 32 back. With three stages to go, Rubén is Euskaltel's highest ranked rider on GC, lying pretty in 20th place. Tomorrow's stage will be just as flat and straight forward as todays, so watch out for Aitor. Aupa Euskaltel!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mayoz and Unai active in ENECO Tour

Euskaltel are not getting the results they were hoping for in ENECO so far, but at least they are giving it their all and putting in some admirable effort in trying to snatch a stage-win. Today saw Iban Mayoz figure in the first of the day's two breaks. Mayoz and I think 5 others broke away early on in the stage, and quickly got some minutes leeway. Though, for one reason or another, they were reeled back in halfway through the stage, and as a result paved way for another break to have a go. Unai Etxebarria and four others got a gap, but were as predicted caught with some 5 km to go. A sprint would decide the winner, but sadly Aitor was nowhere to be seen. He came in after the pack, precisely 52 seconds down. It that was down to a crash or puncture or something I have no idea. Unai also had to pay for his efforts today. He lost contact with the fast-moving bunch with some kilometres remaining, and came in 33 seconds in arrears. Except from that, the six other Euskaltel riders came in mid-pack.

Monday's the day

Iban's B-sample result will be revealed on Monday, several news outlets report today. According to reports the testing won't be finished until tomorrow for one reason or another. Joxean "Matxin" Fernández contacted the UCI to find out what was going on, and why this was taking so long, and they told him that nothing will be made known "officially or unofficiallly" until Monday. So we have to wait again...

Neverending story

I guess I'm not the only one who's been continually looking for news on Iban's B-sample today. Why is this taking so long? According to several sources the testing of Iban's sample should have been finished by Thursday. Even the Belgians up in Gent said that they would reveal the result today, so why they haven't done so is everyone's guess. I'm not going to speculate too much on the delay, I'll leave that up to you, my readers. I'm just going to go to bed, wake up tomorrow and take it from there. That's my plan; I'm not really into the idea of sitting up all night just to be the first to know... Feel free to post your oppinions on the matter in the comments section.

Euskaltel protagonists in ENECO

Euskaltel lit up the race today just like they did yesterday. This time it was Rubén to make the break, accompanied by three other riders. Rubén was sitting pretty in 29th place overall going into the stage, and was therefore the virtual leader for most of the stage. Though, he was only looking for the win, so he was naturally disappointed that the break got reeled in with 9 km to go. In the bunch sprint, no Aitor Galdos was to be seen. Aitor languished in to 33rd place today, though he wasn't the only sprinter who couldn't pull it off today. Renowned fast-men like Hushovd, Van Avermaet, Haedo, Brown and Reynes were all far behind as well. Tomorrow will likely be a new chance for Aitor to show himself, unless a break finally goes the distance for a change. If so, expect an Euskaltel rider to be there. Aupa!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mayoz correction

My earlier presumption that Iban Mayoz may have abandoned the ENECO Tour as he didn't figure on the list of results has shown to be wide of the mark. Mayoz was once again thought to be our very own Iban, and figured as Iban Mayo Diez on the list, and crossed the line in 69th place, 10:41 down. Thanks for the info Yort!

Beñat on the offensive in ENECO Tour

Beñat Albizuri once again managed to get into a break, this time in the ENECO Tour's first stage. Beñat jumped clear with three others after only five kilometres, and stayed away for more than 130 km until being caught with some 50 to go. It was great riding by Beñat on the hilly terrain in Belgium, and he got to show himself. For the rest of the squad, Mikel and Rubén were the best for the day. The pair came home 22nd and 25th respectively, both 37 seconds in arrears. The third best rider for the day was Beñat, 6:48 back in 54th place. Jorge, Aitor Galdos and Unai Etxebarria all came in with a big group 10:41 adrift, while Joseba was even furhter behind; 13:38. Why Iban Mayoz doesn't feature on the list I have no idea, but I guess he crashed and abandoned. More info on him later...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lacklustre prologue for Euskaltel

It was a bad opening to the ENECO Tour for Euskaltel today. The 5,1 km prologue kick-started the Pro Tour stage-race, but sadly for all riders, the weather and the rain played an important part in deciding the results. Mikel, who for sure had expected to fight it out for the top positions, started under pouring rain and took no risks logically. He ended up 109th, a full 29 seconds down, while early-starter Unai Etxebarria finished highest up in the rankings in 35th place, no more than 15 seconds back. Iban Mayoz got 55th, at 19 seconds, Beñat was 73rd, 22 seconds down, Rubén finished a second back in 79th place.Aitor Galdos came in, like Mikel, 29 down, while Jorge was 39 back and Joseba 44.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

B-sample back Friday

Did Iban dope? We'll all find out by Friday if that's indeed the case. The testing of the B-sample commenced yesterday, but the results of the testing won't me made known until Friday. It's going to be a long wait...

Aranaga axed for 2008

Andoni Aranaga, the 28-year-old who's failed to explore his potential since joining from Kaiku two years ago, will not be offered a contract for next year. The rider has "enormous problems with keeping his weight down", and "doesn't give us what we can expect from a pro in the Pro Tour" has Miguel Madariaga said recently. That's a bit sad I think, as Andoni has got what it takes to perform well in the highest category of international cycling. But I guess since he hasn't performed well enough, there's nothing to complain about...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Galdos replaces Goka for ENECO

Aitor Galdos, Euskaltel's in-form sprinter, will replace the injured Gorka Verdugo for the Pro Tour stage-race ENECO Tour. The 8-stage event kicks-off on Wednesday, and will no doubt give Aitor many chances to show off his sprinting skills. Aupa Aitor!

Gorka injury-update

According to the first examinations, Gorka Verdugo has "only" injured one of his ribs, together with the obligatory bruises that comes from such a bad fall. Though, Euskaltel's homepage underlines that there's need for more tests to confirm these first results. Though, it's good that he's not broken his collarbone nonetheless.

Vuelta pre-selection

Euskaltel will do the Vuelta a España with nine out of these ten riders: Samu Sánchez, Haimar Zubeldia, Iñigo Landaluze, Igor Antón, Iñaki Isasi, Koldo Fernández de Larrea, Aitor Hernández, Dioni Galparsoro, Jaun Jose Óroz and Alan Pérez. Probably one of the last three riders will be the one to make way. Looks like a really strong team on paper at least, with riders for all terrain.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good Euskaltel performance in Hamburg

Euskaltel did a good job in the Hamburg HEW Cyclassics one-day Pro Tour event today. Aitor Galdos did an amazing job by managing to come in with the first group, consisting of only 22 riders, to claim an honourable 17th spot. Jon and Rubén also showed good form by coming in with the second group, only 5 seconds back, together with riders like Voigt, Beppu, Rojas, Wegmann and Visconti. Jon and Rubén landed the 27th and 29th spots respectively. Koldo, Dioni and Juanjo also did an okay job, coming in with a small group 1:19 in arrears, placing 63rd, 66th and 68th in the process. Alán Pérez came in a further 23 seconds down in 76th place. This strong team performance meant Euskaltel placed a good 7th in the team rankings. Though, Euskaltel is staying put in 15th place overall. Though, it's not all good news I'm afraid. Gorka crashed early on and had to abandon straight away. He left with a suspected broken collar bone. If that's indeed the fact with Gorka, it will take Euskaltel's tally of broken collarbones this season up to an unprecedented 13. It's not sure at the moment, but if he's broken it, he'll most probably be forced to put and end to this season already now. That would have been a shame, as Gorka has enjoyed his best season thus far in Euskaltel colours.

Happy birthday to you...

Iban turns 30 today the 19th of August. So congratz Iban! Though, I guess Iban's mind is on something different these days, as his B-sample will be tested tomorrow in Gent. But, anyway, turning 30 is a big event, so he should definetely throw a party. Aupa Iban!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

No success for Koldo and Aitor

The Deutschland Rundfahrt came to a close today with another sprint finish. Sadly, neither Koldo nor Aitor could mix it with the best today and came in 13th and 20th respectively. That was a huge let-down, as I had got my hopes up that they could perhaps snatch a win on the final day. But never mind, there'll be other races for them to win... The rest of the riders came in with the bunch, so the final overall standings looks like this:

  • 46th, Dioni Galparsoro
  • 47th, Jon Bru
  • 62nd, Juanjo Oroz
  • 86th, Antton Luengo
  • 106th, Alán Pérez
  • 123rd, Unai Uribarri
  • 124th, Koldo Fernández
  • 144th, Aitor Galdos

In the team rankings Euskaltel ended up a lowly 15th...

Samuel 8th in Burgos final

Samu Sánchez showed signs of approaching top form in today's Vuelta a Burgos final. Samu was a part of the day's decisive break, and looked good indeed, but weren't able to fight for the win. Kyrienka, the Belarussian of team Tinkoff, went for broke with 3 km to go, leaving the rest of a 16-man break trailing in his wake. He won solo ahead of Caisse's Francisco Pérez, who tried, and failed, to bridge up to the strongman. Garzelli won the sprint for third, with Samu coming home 8th. Finally he showed himself in this race; that's good news for his Vuelta podium aspirations. Another rider who showed himself a bit today was Igor Antón, who was lively on the day's first category 1 climb. Though, ironically, Igor was the only Euskaltel rider who didn't come in with the peloton today. He came in some 40 seconds in arrears.

On GC, Amets finished a good 20th, while Aitor and Igor weren't far behind in 26th and 27th place respectively. Samu ended up 54th, Markel 55th and Iñaki 58th. Lander placed 78th overall. In the team rankings Euskaltel landed the 5th spot, while Iñaki took the same place in the mountains classification.

GP Plouay roster

The inaugural Pro Tour one-day race GP Ouest France-Plouay, which will be held September 2, will see an Euskaltel team made up of Unai Etxebarria, Andoni Aranaga, Beñat Albizuri, Iban Mayoz, Aitor Galdos, Iban Iriondo, Andoni Lafuente and Alán Pérez. The race is always mainly flat, so Aitor will no doubt be the team's ace. More on Plouay later.

Bad day in D-Tour

It was as predicted a bad day for Euskaltel in the Deutschland Tour individual time trial today. Though, one rider did a good job I reckon. Juanjo Oroz clocked the 40th best time, and in the process became the best placed Euskaltel rider on the day. Not much to report on the others. Full results:
  • 40th, Juanjo Oroz, 2:43
  • 66th, Alán Pérez, 3:15
  • 78th, Unai Uribarri, 3:27
  • 118th, Dioni Galparsoro, 4:39
  • 127th, Antton Luengo, 4:52
  • 134th, Koldo Fernández, 5:01
  • 148th, Jon Bru, 5:36
  • 159th, Aitor Galdos, 6:27

Tomorrow will be the last stage of this year's Deutschland Tour, and my hopes are high that Koldo and Aitor might just win the stage as the stage is simply one for the sprinters. Aupa Euskaltel!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Euskaltel OK in Burgos TT

It was an OK performance from the Euskaltel boys in the time trial in the Vuelta a Burgos earlier today. Aitor Hernández underlined his good form by beating all his teammates, finishing a good 27th. He must get the nod for a Vuelta berth for sure I feel... My biggest hope for the day, Markel Irizar, came in 33rd; not bad, but he would have hoped for better. Samu and Igor were a little off the pace today, but I assume they've got it all under control concerning the upcoming Vuelta. Full results:

  • 27th, Aitor Hernández, 1:13
  • 33rd, Markel Irizar, 1:18
  • 42nd, Samu Sánchez, 1:32
  • 45th, Iñaki Isasi, 1:35
  • 53rd, Amets Txurruka, 1:43
  • 63rd, Igor Antón, 1:51
  • 101st, Lander Aperribay, 2:34

With one stage to go, Amets and Aitor are the two best placed on GC. They're 19th and 27th respectively.

Mikel interview

At Velo-Club's site you can all read an interview with fans-favourite Mikel Astarloza. The interview is in French, something the interviewer clearly appreciated, and is mostly about the Tour, Alberto Contador and the Vuelta. Click to read:

Egoi offered two-year contract

If DEIA is to be believed, Euskaltel will offer former employee Egoi Martínez a two-year deal. Egoi will likely seriously consider the proposal, but will also hope that Saunier Duval and Caisse d'Epargne are interested.

Velasco badly injured

Iván Velasco is not as okay as I thought he would be after his recent fall in the Vuelta a Burgos. In fact, Iván is quite badly injured. He's broken his left collarbone, the 11th (!) Euskaltel rider this season to do so, and has broken his wrist in two places. Especially the latter fractures in his wrist are a matter of concern for him, as the Euskaltel heads fear this might affect his racing in years to come.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No luck for Euskaltel in Burgos

It was another day of missed chances for Euskaltel in the Vuelta a Burgos today. The third stage saw a 7-man strong group break clear and create an unassailable lead, resulting in a sprint between these riders. No Euskaltel rider managed to join the break, so it was another case of "what could have been" for the Basques. The highest placed rider today was Iñaki in 21st place. All but Igor Antón finished inside the pack today. Igor came in a minute and eight seconds adrift, though I don't know why. Tomorrow's stage is, just like in Germany, an ITT. Though, I think Euskaltel's prospects are considerably better in this race. I'll be looking for Markel, first of all, to clock a good time. He's a good TTer, so he'll be up for it. I'm also expecting decent performance from Amets and Aitor; both are good against the clock when in form.

Koldo sprints to 10th

Koldo Fernández once again sprinted well to claim 10th place on stage 7 of the Deutschland Tour. Koldo and Aitor have both done their jobs well in the sprints so far, but I think there's more to come from them in the near future. They've both got the qualities to win a stage... Aitor wasn't quite as successful today, coming home 21st, one place better than teammate Alán Pérez. All Euskaltel riders finished inside the peloton, except for Antton who came in 1:04 in arrears. Tomorrow will see the riders tackle a 33,1 km long individual time trial, so I'll once again be looking for a hole to put my head into. Not looking forward to seeing the list of results...

Igor ready for the Vuelta

Igor Antón will race this year's Vuelta a España has Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano confirmed. According to Galdeano, Igor has recuperated from his Tour efforts, and should be in good shape for the opener in Vigo. Though, Iván Velasco won't do the Vuelta. Iván was planned to do it, but he won't be able to due to his crash yesterday. All this means that six riders are now assured of a staring berth, that being Haimar, Samu, Koldo, Iñaki, Iñigo and now Igor. The three remainig spots will go to Aitor Hernández, Dioni Galparsoro and Markel Irizar I think. Though, I don't know this, it's just what I think and what seems likely.

Samu speaks to Cyclingnews

Sammy Sánchez talked to here the other day. The interview, titled "Racing to win", is a good one, and is mostly about the current campaign and his Vuelta preparations. As it's in English, everyone should be able to read it. Click the link:

Euskaltel back in business in Germany

Euskaltel finally enjoyed a good stage in the Deutschland Tour. Today the stage ended with a bunch sprint, and both Koldo and Aitor came close to winning. Especially Koldo was close, as he came in right behind Ciolek to claim a great 5th place. Aitor was a little further back but still captured the 10th place, so thumbs up to him as well. Though, not only the sprinters showed strength today. Jon continued to race aggressively, trying to go it along with 20 km to go. He managed to create a little gap to the peloton, but was sadly reeled back in. Though, anyway, a good day's work from the whole team.

Disappointment in Burgos

It was a disappointing day for Euskaltel in today's second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. The stage, which included 3 cat. 3 climbs and one cat. 1 and an hors category climb, saw Amets finish as the best Euskaltel rider in 19th place. That's good enough, and Igor and Aitor also did an okay job, crossing the line 28th and 30th respectively. Though, the real positive was that Iñaki showed great form by being in the break of the day as well as taking maximum points on all 3 cat. 3 climbs. He's now third in that competition. Samu didn't animate the stage today either, but he's not supposed to if you know what I mean, he's here to gain fitness and build form for the Vuelta. So don't you worry about him... Full results:
  • 19th, Amets Txurruka, 3:49
  • 28th, Igor Antón, 6:26
  • 30th, Aitor Hernández, 6:44
  • 63rd, Markel Irizar, 12:39
  • 65th, Samu Sáncez, s.t.
  • 67th, Iñaki Isasi, 12:41
  • 74th, Lander Aperribay, 16:04

Sadly, Iván Velasco had to abandon early on as a mass pile-up left him unable to continue. Nothing has been said on his physical state at the moment, so I presume he's alright considering.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Markel in the break; Iñaki 13th in Burgos

Euskaltel enjoyed a good start to this year's edition of the Vuelta a Burgos. Markel managed to infiltrate in the break of the day, together with some 20 other riders, while Iñaki sprinted to 13th and Igor to 18th in the final mass sprint. The break which Markel was a part of split up as the going got tougher, with Russian hot-shot Ignatiev and Spaniard Moreno getting clear. The super-strong Russian then left his companion in search for the stage-win, something he achieved with 34 seconds to spar. All Euskaltel riders, except for Lander, came in with the peloton. Lander came home 3:26 down, so he'll for sure be trying to impress in the remaining stages. Tomorrow will see some serious climbing, so look out for Amets, Samu, Igor and Aitor Hernández to put their stamp on the race. Venga!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Alán Pérez shows strength in Germany

Alán Pérez really impressed in today's fifth stage of the Deutschland Tour. Alán formed part of the day's successful break, consisting of seven riders, and he showed what he's made of. The break split up into several pieces when Vladimir Efimkin upped the pace with some 28 km to go. Efimkin only got one rider for company; Alán. These two put over a minute into their fellow escapees, before being reeled in by the pack with only 10 km remaining. It was a shame, but he nonetheless showed great form today. No Euskaltel rider managed to fight for the win today atop the Rettenbachferner, the closest being Dioni in 34th place. Full results:
  • 34th, Dioni Galparsoro, 5:16
  • 42nd, Jon Bru, 6:26
  • 60th, Antton Luengo, 7:48
  • 74th, Juanjo Oroz, 10:16
  • 90th, Unai Uribarri, 13:31
  • 146th, Alán Pérez, 19:56
  • 149th, Koldo Fernández, 20:01
  • 168th, Aitor Galdos, 25:01

Monday, August 13, 2007

ENECO line-up

Euskaltel will send four of the riders that competed in the Tour de France recently to the Pro Tour stage-race ENECO Tour running from the 22nd to the 29th of August. Mikel Astarloza will head a team consisting of Rubén Pérez, Gorka Verdugo, Jorge Azanza, Unai Etxebarria, Iban Mayoz, Beñat Albizuri and Joseba Zubeldia. Looks like quite a strong team actually, so I'm optimistic.

Euskaltel fumble in the dark in Germany

There seems to be no ending to Euskaltel's nightmare-like performance in the Deutschland Rundfahrt. On today's hilly stage a 52-man strong peloton crossed the line with only one Euskaltel rider in it. Jon ended 43rd today, and credit to him. He seems to be in good form at the moment, and will probably be on the attack for the remainder of the race. The rest though seem to be struggling a bit more. Juanjo, Koldo, Dioni and Antton came home with the second big group, 1:51 down, while Alán, Aitor and Unai came in a full 9:57 adrift. Though, just for the record, Alán was on the attack early on, so at least they're trying. The next few stages should suit breaks, so I'll be looking for orange clad riders at the head of the peloton. Aupa!

Euskaltel in contact with Egoi

According to DEIA, Euskaltel will hold talks with Egoi Martínez at the end of the week considering a transfer to the team. Egoi was left without a team for next season as Discovery Channel will cease to exist come the end of this season. This alerted Euskaltel head Miguel Madariaga, and Egoi is said to be interested in a return to his roots. Though, he also stated that he was hoping to receive offers from more teams as well, especially from Eusebio Unzue's Caisse d' Epargne formation.

There's only one Iban

There's no hiding that these are difficult and testing days for all us Iban fans. After all, we may never see him ride his bike again. Though, the B-sample hasn't been tested yet, so I'm not going to jump to any conclusions on Iban's positive sample at the moment. What I wanted to say is that I think Iban must have the best fans in the world. I've been checking out the forum on his homepage the last weeks and, eventhough people are confused and don't know what to think, it seems he's got immense support among his loyal followers. People are not saying doping is okay, or that what he's done, if he indeed has doped, can be justified in any way. But it seems his fans, and I'm one of them, will stick to Iban's side in the bad times that will probably come in the near future. People are clearly disappointed about all this, but they are nonetheless still sticking by him and are not abandoning him it seems. Personally I've received tons of e-mails from all over the world, people expressing that even though if his B-sample will come back positive, he'll still be their hero. That's the spirit. Even though he might have done something really bad, he'll still be the one they'll support. I'm not supporting his actions, in fact, if he's doped, I would disgust it. But still he'll be loved by his supporters all over the world. His fans are the best, and he deserves it. There is only one Iban.

Bru on the attack in Deutschland

Jon Bru lit up today's third stage of the Deutschland Tour. Jon attacked the bunch and bridged up to the break with some 50 kilometres left to ride. Jon rode impressively on the hilly terrain, but he had to let go with approxiamtely 9 km remaining. Though, the break didn't stay away, so a sprint would decide today's winner. Only Dioni and Jon managed to stay with the peloton, but none of them tried to mix it with the sprinters. Instead, Dioni came home 38th and Jon 75th, both on the same time as winner Zabel. The other 6 riders had a rather bad day in the saddle. Alán Pérez was 83rd and Juanjo 88th at 1:34, Antton, who by the way launched the first attack of the day, came home a distant and disappointing 146th, a whopping 10 minutes and 25 seconds back, while Unai Uribarri, Aitor and Koldo came in with the last group 14:39 down. Another disappointing and disillusioning performance from the team in Germany, but surely there must be light in the end of the tunnel...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dismal TTT performance from Euskaltel

It was another TTT to forget as Euskaltel finished 19th out 23 teams in the Tour of Germany today. Koldo, Unai Uribarri, Juanjo Oroz, Aitor Galdos, Dioni, Alán, Jon and Antton crossed the line in that order. Besides that, not much to report really, sorry. Not much going on these days...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Galdos 8th in Deutschland opener

Euskaltel got off to a good start in the Deutschland Tour today. Aitor Galdos sprinted to 8th place, while Jon Bru was active in the early kilometres. Jon tried to get into the break of the day but wasn't able to eventhough he gave it a good try. As predicted a sprint would decide the winner, and in the end Aitor wasn't far off. The other sprinter present in Germany, Koldo, ended up 23rd, so I assume Koldo acted as lead-out man this time round. All Euskaltel riders finished inside the pack, so all good so far.

Tomorrow's stage will be a 42,2 km TTT, so naturally I'm already trying to find a hole I can put my head into.


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