Euskaltel-Euskadi built around Samuel Sanchez for the Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Euskaltel-Euskadi built around Samuel Sanchez for the Tour de France

by Kyle Moore at 4:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, National Championships
Returning King of the Mountains will skip Spanish nationals, recovering from Dauphiné crash

Samuel Sanchez - 2011 Tour de FranceThough it won’t officially announce its roster for the Tour de France until after the Spanish national championships, multiple sources are listing the nine men set to represent Euskaltel-Euskadi at La Grande Boucle.  The roster included eight men to surround and assist Samuel Sanchez, as he shoots for a top five finish in Paris.

Sanchez is looking to be fully recovered from a rib injury suffered in a crash in the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month.  Along with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), ‘Samu’ will sit out of the Spanish national championships to continue focusing on preparing for the French Grand Tour. 

Sanchez returns to the Tour hoping to replicate or surpass his outstanding effort in 2011, when he won a mountain stage and took the final King of the Mountains title in Paris. 

Sanchez will have another Euskaltel-Euskadi stalwart at his side in 2012 that he did not have last year.  Mikel Astarloza is expected to make his return to the Tour, after testing positive for EPO in the 2009 edition.  Astarloza was stripped of the stage win and general classification placing he had earned and banned for two years, before making his comeback with the team late last season.

After getting off to a slow start this year, Astarloza has recently finished 25th in the Tour de Romandie, and 20th in the Tour de Suisse.

Notable riders missing from the Basque squad are Mikel Nieve and Igor Anton.  After impressive performances in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse, Nieve is due for a break.  And Anton will likely lead the squad with a singular focus on the Vuelta a España, a tactic similar to years past.

And though Sanchez is forgoing the Spanish national championships, Euskaltel-Euskadi will send a host of riders to the road race, in hopes of taking the Spanish national colors to the Tour.

Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Tour de France:
Samuel Sanchez, Gorka Izagirre, Egoi Martinez, Ruben Perez, Amets Txurruka, Pablo Urtasun, Gorka Verdugo, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza

Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Spanish national road race championship (June 24 - Salamanca  - 198km)
Egoi Martinez, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Ruben Perez, Alan Perez, Pablo Urtasun, Gorka Izagirre, Jon Izagirre, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Juanjo Oroz, Miguel Minguez


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