Sunday, August 18, 2013

Euskaltel all-star set for Vuelta a España

Hoping to put Samuel Sánchez on the overall podium and attract a new sponsor with it, Euskaltel have decided to field a number of their biggest stars for the Vuelta a España.

The year's last Grand Tour kicks off next weekend, and, given the team's current predicament, it's highly likely it'll also be the team's last three-week race in its long and storied history.

Samuel Sánchez will as expected spearhead the team's charge, hoping to add what would be his third podium placing in the race to his extensive palmarès. To aid him in his quest, team head Igor González de Galdeano has opted to field ace climbers Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve (both fresh off the Tour de France earlier this summer) and prodigious escalador Mikel Landa.

Loyal domestiques Gorka Verdugo, Egoi Martínez and Jorge Azanza will all once again be by Sánchez's side, having already completed the Giro d'Italia earlier this season.

Rounding out the nine-man team will be reliable all-rounder Pablo Urtasun, who crashed out early in the Giro, and Juan José Oroz, who came through the Tour i July in fine form.

"We'll go to the Vuelta with a very well-rounded team", de Galdeano tells the team's website. "We've got a team leader who already knows what it's like to stand on the podium in this race, and he'll be accompanied by a group of riders who are experienced in these kind of races.

"Antón and Nieve are two climbers with big wins to their names. Martínez, Verdugo and Azanza have protected Sánchez for many years. Urtasun and Oroz will be charged with looking out for him on the flatter stages where there'll be a chance of strong winds. And finally there's Landa, who got to know this race in 2012 and will be hoping to take a further step this year".

A number of big-name riders and proven Grand Tour contenders will line up at the start line in Galicia on Saturday 24 August. While 'Samu' might not be the biggest outright favourite, de Galdeano is adamant the team has got designs on taking home the top accolade.

"We have to be ambitious", he says. "The goal is to be in the fight for the overall victory. The list of GC candidates is impressive with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Joaquim Rodríguez and Alejandro Valverde, but we aim to be in the mix 'till the very end.

"We have to be at out best and go for gold".

1 comment:

Josh Buehner said...

Take us out on top. Make those Basque no-show sponsors see what we're made of!


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