By Antonio J. Salmerón
Three Euskaltel-Euskadi racers announced their intentions for kicking off the 2009 road racing season.
Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez will start his season with the Challenge de Mallorca from February 8 to 12. Given the cancellation of the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, Sanchez will take part next in the Vuelta a Andalucía from February 19 to 15. There he is expected to do battle with Australian Cadel Evans. His main goal of the first part of the season, however, will be the Vuelta al País Vasco before he switches his concentration to preparations for the Vuelta a España.
Another of Euskaltel-Euskadi's leaders who will compete in the Challenge de Mallorca is Mikel Astarloza, who is taking a more relaxed approach to preparing for his season. Astarloza is aiming to reach peak form in June and July, when he hopes to lead his team to success in the Tour de France.
Finally, Igor Antón will debut in the Vuelta a Murcia from March 8 to 14. Anton is continuing to recover from hip and left shoulder injuries, which he sustained in the 13th stage of the Vuelta a España. Antón is back to training, although he is taking a measured approach to his return.