The Spanish team for the world championships has been announced. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will lead a strong line-up of nine riders that also features Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and a number of riders currently starring at the Vuelta a España.
Freire is seeking a record fourth title on a course that seems suited to his characteristics and national coach José Luis de Santos is not concerned by his leader’s decision to abandon the Vuelta earlier this week. “It’s all going in the right direction, [Freire] is assimilating the work he did at the Vuelta and I’m happy with how things are going,” said de Santos.
Vuelta a España stage winners Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) and Imanol Erviti (Caisse d’Epargne) have also been included in the team, along with Erviti’s teammate Luis Leon Sánchez.
Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) earns a first Worlds selection since Zolder in 2002, while Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) and Francisco José Ventoso (Carmioro NGC) complete a strong roster.
With Spanish riders performing so well on a number of fronts in September, de Santos had a wealth of on-form talent at his disposal: “Most of them have been at the Vuelta, and the others have done well elsewhere. Samuel Sánchez and Zubeldia rode well at the two Canadian classics and Ventoso is a rider who did a sensational Paris-Brussels.”
Luis Leon Sánchez will also ride the time trial event, along with his Caisse d’Epargne teammate Rubén Plaza, who is also listed as a reserve for the road race. “Yesterday Ruben didn’t do a great time trial due to physical problems, but there is still time and I am sure he will do a good job at the Worlds,” de Santos explained.
Spanish team for world championships:
Road race: Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack), Francisco José Ventoso (Carmioro NGC), Luis Leon Sánchez (Caisse d’Epargne) and Imanol Erviti (Caisse d’Epargne).
Time trial: Leon Sánchez and Rubén Plaza (Caisse d’Epargne)