Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bravo eyeing Giro debut

New Euskaltel rider Garikoitz Bravo is not aiming to ease his way into competition in his first year at WorldTour level. The 23-year-old, long tipped for a move to Euskaltel, will start off the year in January at the Tour Down Under, before going on to the Tour Méditerranéen. Later on, he's got his eyes fixed on taking on his first Grand Tour - and, if it's up to him, it's not the Tour de France.

"It's a goal for me to do a GT", he told Gara. "I'd love to finally be able to do one, and preferably the Giro. The Giro is the three-week race that attracts me the most. In 2012 I only had the option to do the Vuelta, and I wasn't picked. In 2013 I'll have the chance to do one, though, and I'd like to give it a try. At the Tour of Portugal in 2011 I finished really well, and I felt it was a bit short. I'd love to do a big one, knowing that I have to prepare well for the body to last the three weeks".

Bravo makes the move to his local team from Caja Rural, a team he just finished his third year with. As anyone leaving that team, he seems saddened at leaving the green-clad team behind.

"My time there was really good", he said. "I'd recommend anyone who's got the chance to join that team to do it. I felt at home, they treated me well, there's nothing negative to say. They bet on me since I was young, and I'm very grateful to Juanma Hernández and Floren Eskisabel. I spent six years with them as a youth rider, sub-23 and as a professional, so it'll be weird to see myself in orange".

And how has the experience at the team's training camp in Derio been so far?

"So far, chapeau! I've wanted to join this team for many years, and now I've made it. The concentration has amazed me. They're always watching over us. The first day, us new guys passed all kinds of medical check-ups; with dentists, optometrists, electrocardiograms... They want to make sure we don't start off the season with any problems. You can tell it's a serious team at the top level".

The team camp has been the first chance for the Basques to meet the foreigners signed this off-season, and so far they've communicated in a mixture of English, Italian, Slovenian, Spanish and Basque. They'll all be making an effort to learn Spanish, though - and the sooner the better, according to 'Gari'.

"I knew half of the guys from before, and I can understand the foreigners if they speak English. But to really get to know them is difficult. They have to learn the language we use in the team, castellano, rapidly, as they're all great guys".

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