Naturgas will send pretty much their whole team to Monday's Euskaldun-race in Lekeitio, looking for glory that has so far eluded the riders in red and white this year.
The team boast two wins this year, courtesy of Alain González and Imanol Estévez, but both were taken in the Basque Cycling Federation's other race series, the sub23 Torneo Lehendakari. The youngsters at Naturgas are yet to taste triumph in the Torneo Euskaldun though, a series largely dominated by Azysa-Telco'm-Conor WRC's powerful trio of Arkaitz Durán, Borja Ábasolo and Mike Terpstra (all above 23).
Azysa will be back to defend the win they obtained in Lekeitio last year, through Argentine Gastón Agüro, but Naturgas will send an able 11-man team in the hope of derailing Azysa's plans.
According to www.fundacioneuskadi.com, the following riders will be present: Jon Larrinaga, Loïc Chetout (pictured above), Karl Baudron, Alain González, Mikel Iturria, Imanol Estévez, Oier Sánchez, Pablo Comins, Alain Santamaría, Francisco Javier Martín and Víctor Exteberria.
"We'll try to be in the fight", said DS Iñigo Urretxua. "The riders are in good shape after the Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen, and we have to take advantage of that".
The XI Memorial Oier Elorriaga - Gran Premio San Antolin in Lekeitio, Vizcaya, is the third from last race in the Torneo Euskaldun. Only the races in Alsasua (15/9) and Zaldibia (23/9) will remain to decide the overall winner after this weekend.
The race, normally decided in a small-sized bunch sprint, will cover its usual 118 kilometres.
Overall Euskaldun standings pre-Lekeitio:
- Borja Ábasolo (Azysa), 151 points
- Markel Antón (Bidelan), 132 points
- Arkaitz Durán (Azysa), 119 points
- Mike Terpstra (Azysa), 119 points
- Imanol Iza (Bidelan), 110 points