By Monika Prell
The team Euskaltel-Euskadi has taken favourable balance of the first part of the Vuelta a España.
Directeur Sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia summarized the first part of the Vuelta. "We have reached the half-way point of the Vuelta, and we can already draw some conclusions. [Denis] Menchov is very strong and the biggest favourite for the overall win. [Cadel] Evans or [Carlos] Sastre are also good.
"From our team 'Samu' [Sánchez] is doing a very complete race; he is going well in the time trial, as well as in the mountain stages. Igor Antón rode well in the mountain stages; very positive news. And Koldo [Fernández] is confident for the sprints; he has already been second and fourth. The team worked fine in the stages. It would be great to reach a victory as a compensation for this work. We have passed ten stages, and we will continue in the same way. The results will will come."
On the first rest day that was dedicated to a transfer from Andorra to Castellón the riders rode the last 50 kilometres from Castellón to Oropesa del Mar, where tomorrow's stage will start.
Samuel Sánchez, the team leader, was happy about the rest day. "A rest day is always convenient, even if such a long transfer tires you out after four hours of sitting in the car. The best thing of those days is that in the afternoon you can have a little siesta and break the routine. You can benefit from the day, and charge your batteries.
The team leader is satisfied with his performance. "I draw a favourable balance of the Vuelta. There still remains a lot of the tour. I am optimistic because I feel good, and I will continue struggling to improve. We have important stages before us. The rivals are hard, especially [Denis] Menchov who is very strong, but we will have to try something on the stages that remain."
The young hope Igor Antón affirmed his condition. "I feel better than I thought. I have been with the best riders during the three mountain stages, a fact that motivates me a lot. I am not think of a stage win, but helping the team. We are riding a good Vuelta, in the queen stage we had two riders in the breakaway group, 'Samu' finished third and I was eighth. I think that those are results that you have to value, it is not easy to obtain those results."