By Monika Prell
While Caisse d'Epargne has a French sponsor, the team considers itself as a team of Navarra, Spain due to its headquarter in the Pamplona, the capital of Navarra. So there is no surprise that it will try to shine in the GP Miguel Indurain, that will be held on Saturday, March 5 in Estella, Navarra.
Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro will be the team's two leaders for their home event. Valverde will try to win the race that Caisse d'Epargne won last in 1998, when Francisco Mancebo was able to reach the Basilica del Puy first.
"In the last years, every time there was something that embarrassed us to struggle for the victory," said team sport's director Eusebio Unzué. "It is our home race, the other teams know that it is a race where we want to be protagonists and they impose us the whole responsibility.
"The arrival at El Puy is very spectacular for the public, but its placing in the race makes it very tactical, you have to reach very well placed," said Unzué.
For Pereiro, this race will mean his comeback after having suffered from a bronchitis that made him lose 12 days of competition.
The team contesting the event will include several of the team's likely Giro d'Italia riders, including Russian Vladimir Karpets, Venezuelan José Rujan and Spaniards Joaquím Rodríguez and David Arroyo. Besides them Spaniards Xabier Zandio, Pablo Lastras and Dani Moreno and Colombians Rigoberto Uran and Marlon Pérez will contest the event.
(Additional editorial research and assistance for this bulletin provided by Susan Westemeyer.)