Thursday, December 01, 2011

Naturgas Energía anno 2012

La Fundación Euskadi's sub-23 team Naturgas Energía today revealed their roster for 2012. The red team will count on 13 riders next year; three less than was the case this season.

Interestingly, only six of this year's batch will stay on: Jon Larrinaga, Loic Chetout, Karl Baudron, Alain González, Eduardo Ardaiz and Damien García. The latter five only teamed up ahead of this year, while Larrinaga will get another year to show his worth after displaying impressive form throughout the recently-concluded season.

As Barbero and Marino have joined Orbea, that means the following eight riders will be let go: Álex Bilbao, Urtzi Legarra, Aitor Ocampos (who's retired), Rory Martínez, Efrén Carazo, Mikel Martioda, Alberto Guinea and Fernando Grijalba (who's signed for Caja Rural). Seven new riders have come on board: 18-year-old Alain Santamaría (who interestingly hails from Santa Domingo in Rioja), 19-year-old Mikel Iturria (Belca-Oriako; took out the Vuelta a Pamplona for juniors last summer), Vitoria-native Imanol Estevez (Team Alimco), 18-year-old Pablo Comins (Ibaigane Opel), Victor Etxebarria (Ibarrola-Pipaón), Francisco Javier Martín (Electro Alavesa) and 18-year-old Oier Sánchez.

It was revealed five weeks ago that DS Aritz Arberas would take on a similar role at Orbea in 2012. Iñigo Urretxua is likely to take on a bigger role in his place. On Saturday, all 13 riders will get together for a low-intensity group ride to get preparations for next season underway, reports

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