By Monika Prell
The 58th Gran Premio de Llodio will be held on Sunday in the Basque province of Araba, and Euskaltel - Euskadi will be one of two Pro Tour teams to participate along with Saunier Duval. The Basque team will compete in the 175.5 kilometre race with 2004 winner Unai Etxebarria at the helm, and he will be supported by Beñat Albizuri, Lander Aperribay, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Aitor Galdos, Ibán Iriondo, Ibán Mayoz, Amets Txurruka, and Haimar Zubeldia.
Even if the last kilometres are quite flat, the course will favour a climber, as the riders will have to make it over no fewer several sizeable climbs: the Alto de Altube (2nd category) along with two trips up the Alto de Garate (3rd category) and the Alto de Malkuartu (3rd category).
The young Amets Txurruka will also be an option for the win, while Jorge Azanza will ride his first race after having an operation to repair a collarbone he broke in the last stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Mikel Astarloza and Haimar Zubeldia use the race as a tune-up for the Tour de France.