Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Tamouridis - We'll strive to justify ourselves

Greek Ioannis Tamouridis will aim to do well what Euskaltel never have been able to next year: time trial in the world elite. The multiple national champion on the road and the track clocked up a healthy enough chunk of UCI points the last two years to attract Euskaltel's attention once it became clear a change of philosophy was needed, and the 32-year-old will become the first Greek ever to represent an international elite cycling team when he dons the iconic orange jersey in 2013. Despite only having ridden for lower-level teams up until now, he's adamant he'll prove his worth among the big boys.

"I hope I'm ready, and I'll work hard to make this step up a success", he told BiciCiclismo. "I'm very motivated to start riding. I know the races I've done so far have been domestic ones, but I'm mature enough to face this challenge with all my strength. It'll be my first year in the WorldTour, but I'm not young enough to say it'll be my first experience. I have to adapt quickly as I want to perform early on - I want to repay the team for the faith they've put in me with good results. I know I'm one of the strongest time triallists on the team, and for that I'll be very useful.

"It's a great honour to be able to ride in the WorldTour and for Euskaltel. I think it's one of the biggest and most historical teams in the WorldTour with its more than 19 years of existence. Not many teams have lasted that long at this level, and it just goes to show how serious and professional the team is. I know that up until last season it only consisted of Basques, but that they opened the doors to foreigners this year, like me, because of a lack of points. I'm confident all us foreigners will give all we've got to justify our signings, and I hope Euskaltel will be satisfied at the end of the season".

The Thessaloniki-born rider defines himself as one who "loves the cronos, but suffers on the long climbs", and therefore says he hopes to get the nod for "the not too difficult one-day races", adding that he dreams of riding the Northern Classics. He'll forego the track altogether next year in an effort to devote all his energy to the road and Euskaltel, a team he said he was guided to by two now-former Spanish team-mates at his local team.

"Joaquín Sobrino and Víctor de la Parte (at team SP Tableware) told me great things about the team and said the only difficulty I might run into might be the weather and, certainly, the language! Back home, though, everyone started looking up the history and results of Euskaltel once it was announced I had signed. That made a great impression on me. I'm the first from my country to ride for a WorldTour team, and that's great news not only for cycling, but for all sport. It was everywhere in the media with the title "Tamouridis turns Basque". I'd love to read that title in a Basque newspaper this year!"

Photo: www.ioannistamouridis.com


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