Thursday, August 16, 2012

Briefs: Zandio/Vuelta prep/Orbea/Irizar

  • 35-year-old Basque Xabier Zandio has opted to renew his contract with Team Sky, writes The versatile all-rounder, set to start the Vuelta a España in two day's time in his town of birth, Pamplona, has been with the British WorldTour outfit since the start of last year and will embark on his 13th season in the pro ranks at the turn of the year.
  • The nine Euskaltel riders selected for the Vuelta a España arrived in Pamplona yesterday (Wednesday), writes the team's own website. The riders got there just in time for a massage and dinner, while they spent Thursday undergoing the routine medical check-ups required before starting a three-week race and getting in two hours of training. Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Iván Velasco, Mikel Landa, Romain Sicard, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Juan José Oroz and Rubén Pérez will reconnoitre Saturday's opening day team time trial on Friday.
  • Continental outfit Orbea are currently racing the 2.1-ranked Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta. The race got underway yesterday with the following nine riders on the start line: Mikel Bizkarra, Jon Aberasturi, Aritz Bagües, Aritz Etxebarria, Xabier Zabalo, Igor Merino, Carlos Barbero, Omar Fraile and Illart Zuazubiskar. Yesterday's 2.2km prologue in Castelo Branco kicked off proceedings, and, not surprisingly, 23-year-old South African prodigy Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg claimed the win. Zabalo was the team's top finisher in the high-calibre race, coming in 11 seconds in arrears in 38th place. Fraile was a further pair of seconds down in 56th. 23-year-old Garikoitz Bravo of Caja Rural grabbed a noteworthy 12th. Click here for full results. On today's first road stage, a 200,8km trek from Termas Monfortinho to Oliveira do Hospital, the riders in blue were well off the pace, a quartet consisting of Zabalo, Fraile, Bagües and Bizkarra coming in with a big group over five minutes behind victor Jay Thompson of United Healthcare. Bravo, of Lazkao, Gipuzkoa, again saved the day for the Basques, so to speak, with a strong fourth, propelling him to fifth overall. Results here
  • RadioShack's Markel Irizar will line up in Pamplona on Saturday. The former Euskaltel rider is part of the maligned team's nine-man roster. Haimar Zubeldia will not feature. 
Photo: Team Sky

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