Spanish federation announces first Olympic long list

The Spanish cycling federation, the Real Federación Española de Ciclismo (RFEC), has announced its first pre-selection for the upcoming summer Olympics in Beijing, but emphasized the tentative nature of the list. "In cycling you can never give a closed and definite list," said national selector Francisco Antequera, "because so many things can happen between now and August. But it is certain that participation in the Games requires many bureaucratic proceedings, and for that reason we don't have a lot of room to manoeuvre."

The twelve riders listed were those who passed the first Olympic doping controls after the Vuelta a Valencia and the Vuelta a Murcia. Most of the riders are climbers, whom Antequera favours because "it is the hardest course since I have been the selector." Spain will be able to send five riders to the road race and two to the time trial.

Antequera will whittle his list down over the next five months. "I still don't know the definite date to submit the five names, but I suppose it will be sometime during the Tour de France. In any case, I want to wait until the last minute, so that I can make the best possible selection.

The twelve riders so far selected are: Oscar Freire, Alberto Contador, Iván Gutiérrez, Oscar Pereiro, Joaquím Rodríguez, Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre, Igor Antón, Samuel Sánchez, Carlos Barredo, Juan Manuel Gárate and Juan José Cobo.

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