David Etxebarria will lead the Liberty Seguros-Würth team in the Euskal Bizikleta stage race, which starts today in Eibar. Etxebarria won this event in 1999 and will head a strong team including Ángel Vicioso, winner of two stages of the 2004 edition.
This being a Spanish race, Liberty Seguros management says the team wants to make a good showing despite the race being sandwiched between two ProTour races, the Giro d'Italia and the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, which starts June 5.
Directeur sportif Marino Lejaretta said he expects, "a race with short and nervous stages, very spectacular and difficult to control."
Etxebarria said he is a bit lacking in race preparation this year, but the race is in his native Basque country, and that is a major motivator. "My next objective in the Tour of Switzerland, but I always like to do well when I ride at home," said Etxebarria, "and even more so this time, as the time trial passes in front of my parents' house."
Etxebarria was fourth this past weekend at the GP Llodio, and expects the winner there to be a major contender. "As we saw in Llodio, David Herrero has a step up on everyone else. Then you have to look out for Barloworld with Astarloa, Arreitunaindia and Cárdenas, and Pascual Rodríguez's Comunidad Valenciana. For our part, Ángel Vicioso demonstrated in Llodio that he is very strong now, and though I'm not the strongest, I can have tactical opportunities and probably take advantage of a breakaway, because it's not always the strongest that wins there."
Liberty Seguros-Würth will field David Etxebarria, Ángel Vicioso, Carlos Barredo, Jesus Hernández, Dani Navarro, Luis León Sanchez, Giampaolo Caruso, and René Andrle.
Euskal Bizikleta stages
- Stage 1 - June 1: Eibar - Sopelana, 164.8km
- Stage 2 - June 2: Sopelana - Tolosa , 181.5km
- Stage 3 - June 3: Tolosa - Strio. de Oro , 135.8km
- Stage 4a - June 4: Murgia-Zuia - Abadiño , 89km
- Stage 4b - June 4: Elorrio - Abadiño (Matiena) ITT , 13.7km
- Stage 5 - June 5: Abadiño - Arrate (Eibar) , 154.8km