By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish Professional Continental team Xacobeo-Galicia is hoping for invites from two Grand Tours this year - the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. The team is pulling out all the stops to achieve this ambitious goal and is staging a third training camp, which will run from January 12 to 22, in Pontevedra, Galicia, in north-western Spain. The first hard training session is scheduled for January 13 at 10:30.
The undisputed team leader will be Ezequiel Mosquera, who had great results in the last two Vueltas. He finished fifth in 2007 and fourth in 2008. Mosquera wants to go for a stage win in the mountains, his preferred battle ground. Last year, he put up a great battle against Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer in the stage to the ski station of Fuentes de Invierno.
In 2008, Mosquera finished in the top 10 in many races, including the Vuelta a España, Vuelta al País Vasco, Vuelta a Murcia, Vuelta a Burgos, Vuelta a Mallorca, Giro de Trentino, Vuelta a Castilla y León, Vuelta a Andalucía and the Volta a Portugal.
Mosquera has good team support from riders such as David García, David Herrero, Gustavo César Veloso and Carlos Castaño. García won the Presidential Cycling Tour in Turkey and took a stage in the 2008 Vuelta a España). Herrero won a stage in the 2008 Vuelta al País Vasco, César Veloso took the overall of the Vuelta a Cataluña last year and Castaño won stages in the Vuelta a Cataluña and in the Vuelta a Burgos.
But others also ride their hearts out for Mosquera, such as Gustavo Domínguez, Iban Mayoz, Gonzalo Rabuñal, Serafín Martínez, Juan Mourón and Eduard Vorganov.
Iván Raña, who is the triathlon World Champion, joins the team for 2009 to try his luck in road racing. The roster is completed by Alejandro Paleo, Alberto Fernández and the young hopes Delio Fernández, Vladimir Isaychev, Pedro Fernández, Marcos García and Héctor Espasandín.