Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Bilbao signs contract

Pello Bilbao today put pen to paper on his two-year deal with Euskaltel, writes Biciciclismo. The 21-year-old was drafted in after Koldo Fernández crashed and broke his collarbone last month, making Euskaltel short number-wise for the spring. As the team is only assured of sponsorship through 2012, he only signed a two-year deal. But if the likely scenario of Euskaltel continuing to sponsor the team materializes, the team has an option for another couple of years, effectively meaning he'll be around 'till 2015 at least. It was revealed that the young climber will, to a certain degree, take part in the races he was scheduled for with Orbea, and that he'll make his debut alongside Samu Sánchez and Romain Sicard in the Criterium International. "Today is a big and important day for us", Miguel Madariaga told the assembled press at a low-key presentation at the team's headquarters in Derio. "Another young talent, just 21 years old, has come through the ranks and turned pro. We don't want to push him, but we need him. La Fundación Euskadi is putting in a lot of work at the grasroots level, and we'll continue that way." Madariaga also emphasized that Bilbao is not a direct replacement for Fernández. According to the Fundación president, he was fast-tracked to ensure Euskaltel have the needed personnel come spring. Bilbao is, like a few other riders with Orbea and Naturgas, studying physical education at the IVEF. But, despite him now being a full-time pro, he's likely to keep it up, at least for the time being.

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