Zubeldia feels that Kloden or Machado could take Team RadioShack’s first GC win next week
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Friday, April 02, 2010

Zubeldia feels that Kloden or Machado could take Team RadioShack’s first GC win next week

by Conal Andrews at 7:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Haimar Zubeldia has named his RadioShack team-mates Andreas Kloden and Tiago Machado as possible winners of next week’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco, or Tour of the Basque Country, which begins on Monday.

“Our strengths are Klöden and Machado,” he said. “I think those two are in contention for the win.”

The American team has had a relatively quiet start to the season, with just one victory; Sébastian Rosseler won stage four of the Volta ao Algarve. Klöden finished second and third on stages of the Volta ao Catalunya, while Machado was second on stage one of the recent Critérium International and was also runner-up on stage three of the Volta ao Algarve.

It has taken various other top three placings but aside from team GC successes, has a clear sparsity of victories. In contrast, the new Team Sky has clocked up eight wins. However the presence of riders such as Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden on the roster has ensured the squad received a wildcard place in the Tour de France.

Zubeldia feels that it is time to start stepping things up. “I still have room to improve,” he said, feeling like he is gaining strength after riding the Volta a Murcia and the Volta a Catalunya. “I want to give my best, as we will be at home. The support of family and friends plus the total knowledge of the terrain will be in our favour, The race finishes in Orio, which is only five miles from my house. I’m thrilled because when it finished in the same town two years ago, I did not participate.”

Zubeldia said that with Alberto Contador opting not to ride, the race result will be wide open. He said that Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) is one contender, as is his Basque team-mate Beñat Intxausti. “[Alejandro] Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Frank Schleck and [Roman] Kreuziger will also fight for victory,” he asserted, adding that he expects Klöden and Machado to also be in the running.

Zubeldia feels that the key stages will be the finish at Arrate and the final TT. “This time trial is not for pure specialists, since the ascension to Aia is very hard and steep. So it is imperative to be in full form.," he said. 

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