Friday, November 04, 2011

Briefs: Euskaltel/Isasi/ONCE

  • Euskaltel stood atop the podium ten times this season, considerably less than the 17 times they amassed in 2010. Still though, it's better than most other campaigns in the team's long history: since the team's creation in 1994, only seven times (including this year) has the team chalked up ten wins or more in one calendar year. The win tally is also slightly higher than the average per year: over 18 seasons, Euskaltel have won 159 races. That's 8,8 a year. These numbers seem to indicate it's been a good year - especially considering four of the ten have been in Grand Tours and two in WorldTour-races.
  • The newly-retired Iñaki Isasi will, as you all know by now, step into the role of directeur sportif next year. He's most likely to lead the team in domestic races though: Noticias de Gipuzkoa reports he hasn't yet acquired the needed licence to direct a WorldTour team outside of Spain. Which in turn means Gorka Gerrikagoitia and Álvaro González de Galdeano are likely to call the shots from the team car in most races overseas.
  • ONCE, one of the great teams of the nineties and the early years of the new millennium, will have a reunion of sorts on the most fitting of dates: on the 11th day in the 11th month in 2011. Several Basque greats of yesteryear used to call the team directed by Manolo Saiz home: Abraham Olano, Pello Ruíz Cabestany, Mikel Zarrabeitia, Isidro Nozal, Marino Lejarreta, Joseba Beloki, David Etxebarria and Igor González de Galdeano to name but a few. Together with approximately 80 other riders and staff from the team that eventually turned into the now-disgraced Liberty Serguros-outfit, they'll get together in Madrid in a week's time to catch up and reminisce about those all-conquering seasons which totalled 437 victories.

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