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Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Sánchez not selected, stage wins are the team's focus
The Spanish ProTour team Euskaltel-Euskadi named its selection on Monday for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26.
Euskaltel-Euskadi is focusing its effort on stage wins rather than general classification ambitions and will look to Tour veterans Mikel Astarloza and Igor Antón, plus sprinter and Tour neophyte Koldo Fernandez, for victories.
"The clear purpose of the team in the Tour de France is to achieve a stage victory," said Directeur Sportif Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. "Making the main goal to do a good job in general classification makes people become more reserved. First we're going to win a stage and then think about the general classification.
"We have a very competitive team and we must fight for a win."
Astarloza, bronze medalist in Sunday's Spanish road race championship, finished the 2007 Tour in ninth place. Antón has a stage win in the 2006 Vuelta a España and the 2008 Tour de Suisse and finished fifth place in Sunday's Spanish national road championship.
Absent from the team is 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez who finished the 2008 Tour de France in seventh place. Six riders from last year's roster, Astarloza, Egoi Martinez, Juan Jose Oroz, Rubén Pérez, Amets Txurruka and Gorka Verdugo, once again made the Tour selection. Koldo Fernandez and Alan Perez are making their Tour de France debuts.
Euskaltel-Euskadi's full line-up for the Tour de France includes Spaniards Mikel Astarloza, Igor Antón, Rubén Pérez, Amets Txurruka, Egoi Martínez, Gorka Verdugo, Juan Jose Oroz, Koldo Fernandez and Alan Perez.