Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aberasturi to fill the gap

As if the lack of sprinters in the Basque Country wasn't big enough, Euskaltel flogged off Koldo Fernández, easily the team's best ever sprinter, off to Garmin and America ahead of the current season. Pablo Urtasun and Rubén Pérez were supposed to chip in with a few bunch-gallop triumphs in his place, but either they've lost their once-decent finishing kicks, or they've not been given the help they would have needed. Anyhow, to address the lack of speed currently at Gorka Gerrikagoitia's disposal, Igor González de Galdeano decided a few weeks back to elevate Jon Aberasturi from the Continental ranks at Orbea to the very elite of professional cycling at Euskaltel. The 23-year-old says it's a dream come true being able to don the iconic orange jersey - but is fully aware of what is expected of him.

"We haven't got many sprinters in the team, and Igor said he wanted me to channel all my energy into becoming one", he told Marca. "There's a lack of sprinters among the Basque cyclists. There have never been any particularly good ones save for Koldo. We do have fast guys like Urtasun and Pérez, but I'm aware of the fact that they're expecting a lot from me".

Since teaming up with the Fundación Euskadi's sub-23 team Naturgas Energía as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, the native of Vitoria-Gasteiz has steadily improved over the last three years in the blue jersey of Orbea. He admits riding professionally for Euskaltel was his dream ever since he started imposing himself on the local scene in his mid-teens, but doesn't hide away from the fact it's been a hard few years of work in reaching the top of the Fundación pyramid.

"It's been many years of hard work. After spending three years at Orbea, I knew that it was now or never. But they've always treated me well here at this set-up. My dream was always to ride for Euskaltel, but it's not an easy goal to achieve. Igor was the one who called me two weeks ago, and it took some time before it sunk it. But now, all I want to do is prove my worth and pay them back (the team) for the confidence they've had in me".


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