Euskaltel - Euskadi will send a strong team to the Vuelta a España: even if the Olympic winner Samuel Sánchez and Haimar Zubeldia won't participate, Jon Odriozola, the sport director, is confident of the potential of his team. "It is a very competitive team. Riders like Mikel Astarloza, Egoi Martínez, Rubén and Alan Pérez, [Iñigo] Landaluze, [Iván] Velasco and Koldo Fernández de Larrea form a strong group that can play an important role. They are riders who know to be present in breakaway groups, they know how to move in a race. They are experienced cyclists who know to do their work. For me, the team is great."
Odriozola named the objectives for the Vuelta: "We will try to win a stage, but we will also focus on the general classification." The leader of the team will be 25-year-old Igor Antón. "He will reach his maturity in the sport, now in this race or later, but it will come. He is a rider who is able to win, but he still has to define some things." The young Basque finished this year's Tour de Suisse in third overall with one stage victory.
Odriozola wants the entire team to be competitive, even if he told to Diario Vasco that "there are three teams, Astana, CSC and Caisse d'Epargne that are very superior to the others. We will have to see if Astana will dominate the race as they did in the Vuelta al País Vasco." He reiterated, "We will have to fight. We have a great team with able and prepared riders."
The team arrived yesterday in Gránada and had its first day of training in the area on Thursday. Friday will be the official team presentation, where Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Koldo Fernández de Larrea, Iñigo Landaluze, Egoi Martínez, Rubén Pérez, Alan Pérez, Amets Txurruka and Iván Velasco will be presented to the public. (MP)