Samuel Sánchez will ramp up his preparations for the Vuelta a España this week when he leads Euskaltel's charge in the Vuelta a Burgos.
'Samu' will spearhead the team at the year's last Grand Tour later in August. While he hasn't competed since the Critérium du Dauphiné, he's hotly tipped for a strong performance in Burgos - a race in which he's already taken one overall win and three stages in the past.
Joining him at the always hilly five-day event running from 7-11 of August will be trusted lieutenants Egoi Martínez, Jorge Azanza and Gorka Verdugo, fast finisher and all-rounder Pablo Urtasun, young guns Peio Bilbao and Ricardo García, as well as ace climber Mikel Landa - a winner of the 2011 edition's queen stage.
Euskaltel's feeder team (or perhaps former feeder team that is), Team Euskadi, will also line up.
The Continental-ranked team has enjoyed a breakout season and will look to build on it with a powerful eight-man line-up consisting of Mikel Bizkarra, Unai Iparraguirre, Carlos Barbero, Illart Zuazubiskar, Igor Merino, Aritz Bagües, Haritz Orbe and Jon Larrinaga.
A host of other Basques will take part as well. Former Euskaltel riders Amets Txurruka and Iván Velasco will be present in the colours of Caja Rural, Beñat Intxausti, who recently inked a new two-year deal with Movistar, will be there, while Iker Camaño will represent his NetApp-Endura squad.
Xabier Zandio will form part of Team Sky's roster, while former Naturgas Energía prodigy Efrén Carazo will line up in the colours of the race's home team, Burgos BH - Castilla y León.