Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zubeldia in demand

Haimar Zubeldia is, perhaps unsurprisingly after his sixth place overall in the recent Tour de France, being courted by several WorldTour teams at the ripe old age of 35.

The native of Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, looked to be in his best shape for almost a decade by being right up there with the very best in the hardest race in the world. And that on the back of a three-month enforced break from racing due cardiac problems. According to trustworthy Basque daily el Diario Vasco, Vincenzo Nibali, third in France, is keen to take the Euskaltel legend with him to what is presumed to be Astana.

"On Sunday, in Paris, Nibali came over and asked me if my contract with RadioShack was up", Zubeldia said. "I told him I've got another year left on my contract and that I'm comfortable here. I'm yet to talk about it with Johan Bruyneel. He was at the team dinner in Paris on Sunday, but we didn't discuss it".

While the always-polite elder brother of Joseba says he's happy where he is, his team-mates behaviour on the final mountainous stage to Peyragudes, where Klöden, Horner et al. didn't seem to care that their captain was in desperate need of help as he went out the back, begs the question if he is indeed content, or if he's just, well, polite. Coupled with the fact that his current team seems set to implode any minute these days, it wouldn't be a shock to see the former Euskaltel stalwart donning a new jersey in 2013.

"It's always nice to be acknowledged, but all that's happened is Nibali asking about my contract situation. Nothing more. I'm comfortable where I am", he says.

Perhaps inevitably in light of the news that Euskaltel will go bigger in 2013, I've also heard rumours linking him with a return to his home team. Whether there's any substance to those rumours I can't tell, but it sure seems Euskaltel will have a fight at their hands if they really are interested.

Photo: Team RadioShack


Kristof said...

I wouldn't mind if Zubeldia would return to finish his carreer. It's a good rider and a legend. Back there in 2003 he was my hero. Radioshack is a fucked up team and Horner and Klöden are just selfish riders.

I would be very disappointed in both Nibali and Zubeldia if they go to Astana. Nibali is one of the few I believe in, Astana = doping and Nibali surely knows this (remember the Iglinsky/Nibali joke LBL).

azanca02 said...

I agree Kristof, It would be great to see Zubeldia on the team for the last few years of his career. I am an American and I can't stand Horner at all. The one thing I like about Kloden is that he does not spur on the media. He keeps to himself 99% of the year.

Nibali is a great talent and I hope a clean one at that.

Magnus said...

Agree with you Tony, good that Klöden keeps to himself most of the time, 'cause when he doesn't, he's pretty much all crap. Seems like a useless dude as well, though he's fantastic to watch. The way he sits on the bike is phenomenal.

Josh Buehner said...

Klodi has been one of my favorite riders since I started cycling. At the 2011 Vuelta al PV I was stoked to finally meet him and get a pic....dude was cold as ice!! Colder than the Vino even. It was a bit disappointing. I also don't like Horner as a person, but he was a pretty cool dude to meet and chat with. Anyway, Come back to Euskaltel Zube!!!!

Josh Buehner said...

*Horner as a rider

Stephen said...

Once Vino is gone I don't see much of a future for Astana, I'd be vary wary of signing for them.

As for Kloden, he seems to have been more about money than glory, happy to be the well paid servant rather than going to a team that would give him the chance to win for himself.

Nibali should stay where he is. It's working well at the moment, hard to see how his results will improve with a different jersey.

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