By Monika Prell
Team Euskaltel Euskadi began preparations for the Giro's opening 24 kilometres team time trial this week. The nine riders who will compete in the Giro d'Italia, Koldo Fernández de Larrea, Aitor Hernández, Joseba Zubeldia, Antton Luengo, Beñat Albizuri, Markel Irizar, Iván Velasco, Aketza Peña and Dioni Galparsoro, as well as the Manager, Miguel Madariaga, the technical secretary Igor González de Galdeano and the director Jon Odriozola met in Vitoria, the capital of the Basque country to hone the team's skills for the stage.
After a short team meeting, the nine riders covered 110 kilometers, in more than three hours they trained to harmonise with each other on their time trial bikes, and at the end, the riders as well the directors were pleased with the practice.
The team for the Giro d'Italia has one clear goal: to get at least one stage win. Koldo Fernández is the one who has the best chances to fulfil this dream. After his victory in stage seven of the Tirreno - Adriatico, the 25-years old dreams of more. He will have the full support of his team, especially Beñat Albizuri, who will be the final lead-out man for the sprinter. Aketza Peña and the veteran Joseba Zubeldia are good all-rounders who also can help in a sprint.
Historically, the team's strength has been in their climbing abilities, and this year is no different. Aitor Hernández won the mountain classification of the Vuelta al País Vasco and Antton Luengo has also proven his abilities as a climber. Euskaltel also takes along the neo professional Iván Velasco. For the overall classification, the team will count on Markel Irizar and Dioni Galparsoro.
Dioni Galparsoro went very well in the Vuelta a la Rioja, finishing fourth in the overall classification. After two years of injuries and illness, where he only competed 25 days, he is keen on getting back to top form. "It is possible that I will lack a bit of rhythm, but I feel very well, and I feel like racing", the 28-years old said to Diario Vasco. It's his first three-week race, and he is confident: "If I don't have physical problems, I know that I will compete well." He will also have another motivation: within two weeks, he will become father for the first time.