Tour de San Luis: Zubeldia to lead Trek Factory Racing in his earliest-ever season start
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Tour de San Luis: Zubeldia to lead Trek Factory Racing in his earliest-ever season start

by Shane Stokes at 9:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Climbing specialist gets protected status in early-season Australian race

Haimar zubeldiaGetting his season off to an early start, the Spanish climber Haimar Zubeldia has been given a green light by the new Trek Factory Racing Team to captain the squad in the Tour de San Luis.

The 36 year old had a disappointing end to his Vuelta a España campaign this year, being one of over a dozen riders who quit due to extreme cold on stage fourteen. He and Belkin’s Luis Leon Sanchez were said by race doctors to have been suffering from the start of hypothermia, making their continued participation impossible.

He recovered and finished out the season in Il Lombardia but, amid similarly miserable conditions, was again a non finisher.

He’ll be aiming for a much better showing in the good weather conditions of Argentina in January, and is motivated to begin his season earlier than ever before.

“This will be my first time at the Tour de San Luis. I personally asked the sports directors if I could participate in this race because last year I pulled out from racing early into the season and also because I think that I’ll like Argentina, seeing as they speak my language there,” he said.

“It will be hard in terms of the altitude changes and because the race is seven days long, but it will be a good working foundation for the rest of the season.”

Three times a top six overall finisher in the Tour de France, the Basque rider will use his energy in 2014 to help riders such as Andy and Frank Schleck to try to take some major results. However he’ll also get his own opportunities at times, and the Tour de San Luis will be a chance for him to show that he still has what it takes to fight for the win.

In addition to the leading the team, he’ll also be trying to share his knowledge with the others. “We’re going in with a young squad and, along with Danilo Hondo, it’s going to be my job to bring some experience to the group,” he explained.

The duo will be joined by Italians Giacomo Nizzolo, Eugenio Alafaci and Fabio Silvestre, plus the Colombian rider Julian Arredondo.

The latter won the Tour de Langkawi in 2013 and will also be motivated to have a strong early season.

There will be a total of twelve WorldTour teams in the event, namely AG2R-La Mondiale (France), Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale Pro Cycling (Italy), Garmin - Sharp (USA), Katusha (Russia), Lampre-Merida (Italy), Lotto-Belisol (Belgium), Movistar Team (Spain), Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Belgium), Orica Greenedge (Australia) and Trek Factory Racing (USA).

The race begins with a 164 kilometre stage running from San Luis to Villa Mercedes. This will be followed by finishes in Mirador del Potrero, Juana Koslay and the Altor del Amago, a 19.2 kilometre time trial in San Luis, plus two further road race stages to Merlo/Mirador del Sol and Terrazas del PorteZuelo.

In all there will be 1,030.8 kilometres of racing, including three summit finishes.

Trek Factory Racing is a new WorldTour team for 2014, and draws on many of the riders and staff from the current RadioShack Leopard team. Apart from the Schleck brothers, its best-known riders also include Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt.


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