Thursday, May 05, 2011

Briefs: Fraile joins up; Orbea line-up for Madrid; Antón, Nieve, Isasi talk Giro

  • 21-year-old Seguros Bilbao rider Omar Fraile has decided to team up with Orbea next year. It was reported last week that Miguel Madariaga was keen on the outstanding youngster, and it now transpires he's gotten his man reports the team's own website. Fraile will join Orbea for the 2012 season and will ride with Euskaltel for the two season after that, meaning the staff at Euskaltel clearly believe in this young fellow. The cunning Madariaga was visibly pleased to have secured a rider of Fraile's promise, saying that this year's Subida a Gorla-winner was "a rider for the future. I'm very pleased with this incorporation, and it shows that we're continuously supporting the young riders here in Euskadi."

  • Orbea will send all their big guns to this weekend's two-day Vuelta a Madrid commencing Saturday. Recent winners Cabedo and Aberasturi will both be present and will be accompanied by Ricardo García, Adrián Sáez, Noel Martín, Xabier Zabalo, Mikel Bizkarra and Aritz Bagües.

  • Igor Antón is painfully aware of the fact that he won't have it all his way in the gruelling mountains of the Giro d'Italia. The course should suit the featherweight climber from Galdakao to a tee, but the affable 28-year-old knows he'll face some stiff competition. "The truth is that the start list is sensational", he told the team's website. "Quite possible the best in recent years. Alberto Contador has dominated the GTs the last few years. Vincenzo Nibali will be on home roads and won the Vuelta last year and finished third in the Giro whilst helping out Basso. Menchov, Scarponi, Purito Rodríguez... And I think Kreuziger will be in the mix as well. And then you have teams like Androni and Colnago that always put up a fight. The ingredients are there for a great race. It'll be hard to beat the Italians, they'll be highly motivated, but to win a stage is not impossible and we'll fight to do just that."

  • Despite taking a famous win atop the Cotobello in last year's Vuelta, Mikel Nieve is not too optimistic about his chances in the Giro. DS in Italy, Alvaro Galdeano, admitted to DEIA that the Navarran is a bit short on form, and the wiry climber thinks it'll be close to impossible to repeat that heroic win from last year. "The Giro is different. Riders will be in top shape and there are several candidates to win each stage in the high mountains. It'll be hard to surprise and stay with them. Igor Antón can do that though, so I'll try to stay with him for as long as possible."

  • Iñaki Isasi will make his long-awaited debut at the Giro this weekend. Speaking to El Correo yesterday, the versatile veteran was sounding enthusiastic. "I've never done the Giro before, I've only watched it on the TV. I'm excited, but I'm also a big worried about the route", he said, probably echoing every single rider's sentiments about the brutal parcours. "I'll be there mainly to help Igor, but I might also try to slip into some breaks. We'll take it day by day. I was always down to do the Tour the first few years Euskaltel participated in this race and when I wanted to have a go at it we stopped taking part due to a small roster. Obviously I'm enthusiastic."

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