Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogspot troubles

Problems at the Blogspot offices have once again resulted in a lack of updates these last few days. Hopefully it's sorted out now, though, so I can get back to keeping you up to date on everything Euskaltel, Orbea and Naturgas. A lot of races have been done and Euskaltel are currently still taking part in the Tour de Suisse as you probably know. That race hasn't gone exactly to plan thus far to say the least. Castroviejo was strangely off pace in the prologue and hasn't been up to much on the climbs, but at least Gorka Izagirre and Jorge Azanza have shown decent form to give Euskaltel somewhat of a presence. Actually the former has shown more than decent form; he was an impressive 15th in the prologue and has been climbing with the best so far to sit 22nd on GC heading into today's fourth stage. Azanza has also been climbing better than he's done in a long time and currently lies in 32nd place.

The Dauphiné turned out okay for the team. I didn't expect them to be up there challenging for top honours a full month prior to the Tour and they most certainly weren't. Samu ended up a respectable 17th on GC after showing marked improvement day by day, whilst Txurruka finally looks to be back to something called form by ending up 22nd. He'll be one to watch (as usual) in the Tour come July. Velasco was consistently good in the mountains and ended up 30th, so he's a shoo-in for the Tour I reckon. Peio Bilbao showed why he's the guy on everybody's lips (those in the Basque Country anyway) by performing strongly in the mountains and in the ITT to finish safely inside the top 100 in his first ever WorldTour-race. On a less positive note was Mikel Landa's enforced abandonment after coming a cropper in a run-in with a few cows venturing into the peloton on a descent. The strong climber ended up with a broken collarbone, incidentally the same one he broke in Murcia earlier this year, and is now facing a month or six weeks I would suggest on the side-lines.

Orbea looked the part at the recently-concluded Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal. Danger-duo Aberasturi and García were up there on nearly every stage (the former grabbed third on day one, the latter second and fourth on day two and three), resulting in García taking an impressive fifth on the final GC. With the way they've been riding all season they look likely to change the blue of Orbea for the orange of Euskaltel in 2012.

Just like Bizkarra and Bilbao last year, Igor Merino is finding life difficult in the Baby Giro. The all-rounder, who looks set to move on to Orbea next year, is 81st overall after four days of riding, and will be hoping to find his feet in the second part of the race. His team-mate at Naturgas, Fernando Grijalba, once again showed strong form by taking third in Sunday's GP Beasain.

1 comment:

azanca02 said...

One thing I love about the weeks before the tour. No one EVER mentions Samu as a contender. I think he has more than proven that he is a 3 week stage racer. How can you count out someone who got 4th last year? I think the podium is set up for him this year and no one ever mentions him...I LOVE IT!


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