Downsized Euskaltel Euskadi team settles for 23 riders in 2012
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Downsized Euskaltel Euskadi team settles for 23 riders in 2012

by Shane Stokes at 5:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Sicard keeps his place after drunken incident

Igor AntonReflecting perhaps its uncertain future and tight budget, the Euskaltel Euskadi team will line out in 2012 with the minimum number of riders for the UCI ProTeam category it aspires to be part of. The squad’s lineup has been cut by two from last year’s total, meaning it could be stretched at certain points of the season when races overlap.

Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez is continuing from this year’s lineup, as is Vuelta a España stage winner Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Pello Bilbao, Pierre Cazaux, Gorka and Jon Izagirre, Mikel Landa, Egoi Martínez, Miguel Minguez, Mikel Nieve, Juanjo Oroz, Alan y Rubén Pérez, Romain Sicard, Amets Txurruka, Pablo Urtasun, Iván Velasco and Gorka Verdugo.

Sicard’s inclusion in the final list shows that he has kept his place on the team. It warned earlier this month that it would be ‘strict in the implementation of its internal code,’ following a drunken incident and the arrest of the rider. Whatever punishment it has handed out doesn’t appear to have threatened his place on the squad.

There are three arrivals, with Ricardo García, Victor Cabedo and Adrián Sáez de Arregi joining from the Orbea Continental team. Five riders are leaving, namely Garmin Cervélo-bound Koldo Fernandez Larea (Garmin Cervélo), Javier Aramendia Lorente (Caja Rural), Jonathan Nicolas Castroviejo (Movistar Team), Inaki Isasi and Daniel Sesma.

Euskaltel Euskadi is one of those waiting to hear if it will be granted a UCI ProTeam licence for 2012. At the start of this month it was amongst five teams announced as fighting for three places, going up against Ag2r La Mondiale, Geox – TMC, FDJ, and Team Europcar. The UCI is due to announce the outcome of that tussle soon.

A maximum number of 30 riders is allowed at ProTeam level, although that depends on there being two or more neo-pro riders on board. Without those new professionals, teams can have a maximum of 28 riders.

Euskaltel-Euskadi needs to find a new sponsor for next season, and will hope for strong performances in the months ahead to help make that happen.


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