Good news, not bad required of Euskaltel-Euskadi riders
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good news, not bad required of Euskaltel-Euskadi riders

by Conal Andrews at 8:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Following 26 second and third places in 2009 but just six wins, the Euskaltel Euskadi team knows that it has to target more victories in 2010.

"You can not blame the riders' attitude and aggression in bicycle races, but we have not been strong enough in the closing stages,” said directeur sportif Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano to the Spanish newspaper Marca. “I would have liked more wins,”

Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez is the top achiever, winning the GP Llodio and finishing second overall in both the Vuelta a España and the Tour of Lombardy.

The biggest success was – on paper – the Tour de France stage win by Mikel Astarloza, but given that he failed a out of competition test for EPO prior to the Tour, that victory is likely to be struck off. Iñigo Landaluze also tested positive, being snagged for CERA early in the summer.

The team will head into 2010 determined to do better, but will also know that any more doping scandals will not be tolerated. In response to the Astarloza and Landaluze cases, its sponsor, the Basque government, has added a clause to the contract it has with the team. If even one rider fails a doping test, the backing will be removed.

The team’s manager Miguel Madariaga accepts the recent announcement. "It seems like a reasonable decision," he said.

The team also faces a drop in budget due to the economic crisis. It received €6.5 million this season but will have to make do with less – or else find additional sponsors – for 2010.

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