In-form Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton head to Tour of Beijing with ambition
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In-form Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton head to Tour of Beijing with ambition

by VeloNation Press at 7:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Beijing
2008 Olympic champion makes trip on back of runner-up slot in Il Lombardia

Samuel SanchezFocussed on building up its UCI points and making sure of a renewed WorldTour licence for 2013, the Euskaltel Euskadi team is sending two of its strongest riders to the Tour of Beijing; the in-form 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton have both the ability to win the race, depending on how things play out.

Sanchez has built up some very good late season form, with the Tour de France crash which put him out of that race and ruled out his Olympic title defence giving him reserves and determination that many other riders lack at this point of the season.

He was not in top form when he rode the first edition of the race last year, placing only 55th, but is considerably stronger this time round.

“Last year was very special to be back in Beijing and compete on the roads that led me to conquer the most important achievement for an athlete, a gold medal at the Olympic Games,” he said.

“This season we are back again with enthusiasm and to put on a great show for the fans and to encourage more people to go cycling. Winning is always difficult, but we will fight to get it.”

After netting fourth on a stage plus fourteenth in the Tour of Britain, Sanchez’s buildup of form continued with a fine second in the Il Lombardia Classic last Saturday.

Anton is also in god shape, netting four top ten stage finishes and ninth overall in the Vuelta. He’s taken stage victories in the Vuelta and Giro, and earned himself a slot on the Beijing podium last year by climbing well.

“Last year was the debut of the race and I was able to win the mountains classification,” he said. “After the Tour of Spain and Italian classics, I have a good shape and am motivated and eager to see if we can put a nice finishing touch on the season finale.”

The duo will be supported by Mikel Nieve – himself a very good rider in his own right - plus Ivan Velasco, Amets Txurruka and Gorka Verdugo, as well as the young riders Pello Bilbao and Mikel Landa.

The race begins in one week’s time and runs for five days. Directeur sportif Iñaki Isasi makes clear that the team is heading to China with a real focus.

“We will arrive at the Tour of Beijing with a very strong team and I think we can play a leading role,” he said.

“Samuel Sanchez has the quality and experience to be one of the leading men of the race and Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve are two other talented riders who aspire to win.”

Euskatel-Euskadi for 2012 Tour of Beijing:
Igor Anton, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Samuel Sanchez, Amets Txurruka, Ivan Velasco, Gorka Verdugo


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