By Monika Prell
Igor Antón, the young hope of Euskaltel-Euskadi, tried this year for the first time to cope with the Tour de France. It was not his first big Tour, as he won last year a stage of the Vuelta a España, but he could not finalize his first Tour de France and was forced to abandon in stage 11 after crashing the previous day. Now, he has recovered from the physical fatigue he accumulated during the Tour, proving so by riding a good Vuelta a Burgos, the first race after his break, and is slated to ride the Vuelta, September 1 to 23.
Antón's good form is welcome news for the Basque team as it lamented yesterday the loss of one of its riders; young Iván Velasco has to abandon all hope for a participation in the Vuelta, as he crashed and abandoned in the Vuelta a Burgos.
"I think that for him, this will be important," said the team's technical director, Igor González de Galdeano, to Deia. "He did not ride many days this year and I consider that he needs more races at his age of 24 years. Furthermore, it's good for him and his future that he learns to overcome a complicated situation like the one he has passed."
Besides Igor Antón, Euskaltel-Euskadi will participate in the Vuelta a España with Samuel Sánchez who will be the leader, with the sprinters Koldo Fernández and Iñaki Flores, and veterans Iñigo Landaluze and Haimar Zubeldia. The three other riders will be chosen next week.