By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish coach Paco Antequera has officially announced his selection for the World Championships on Friday. The definite list of riders that will join the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader, Alejandro Valverde, next Sunday, September 24 to ride the road race in Salzburg will be composed of his teammate Joaquin Rodriguez, Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Iñigo Cuesta (CSC), Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) and Luis Perez (Cofidis).
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) was not selected as his form at the Vuelta a España did not convince Antequera. "Oscar's condition is not good enough," the Spanish national coach said. "We thought his form would improve during the Tour of Spain, but in fact that didn't happen."
The ninth rider is yet to be determined. It could be Carlos Sastre (CSC), "but he has asked me to wait until the Vuelta finishes to see in what condition he will be, because he wants to go to Salzburg in a perfect state for helping," Antequera said. "If Sastre doesn't go, I will choose between Manolo Beltrán and Egoi Martinez." Both riders belong to Discovery Channel.
Meanwhile, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), who renounced to compete in the World's time trial due to a virus, which forced him to abandon the Vuelta, is still trying to recover. "I don't want to disappoint anybody, and I have accepted that I am not in condition for going there," said the Astana rider. Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears' Iván Gutiérrez will thus be the only one to represent Spain in the TT in Salzburg: "Luis León Sánchez chose not to ride, because he is not well, and I do not see another rider with guarantees who can replace him," Antequera said.