Haimar Zubeldia expects a strong Italian team, leery of Australians
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Haimar Zubeldia expects a strong Italian team, leery of Australians

by Jered Gruber at 8:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Basque rider makes first World Championship experience since 2002

Spanish Worlds team member, Haimar Zubeldia, is ready to support three-time World Champion, Oscar Freire, in his bid for an incredible fourth.

Unsurprisingly, the RadioShack rider knows that Italy will be the team to watch for on Sunday in Geelong, but the former top ten overall finisher at the Tour de France is cautious to focus too much attention on the Italians, as he feels like that could open the door for other teams to take advantage of a stalemate between the two superpowers, namely the home favorites, Australia.

"We know that Italy will try to surprise us, but we must ensure that marking them will not benefit others, like the Australians, who will be very motivated at home," said the Basque rider in a conversation with rfec.com.

Zubeldia is particularly concerned with two Australians - consistent top finisher in a number of Worlds already, Allan Davis, and outgoing World Champion, Cadel Evans.

"I look to Evans or Davis, who is one of the few [sprinters] who can overcome the steep slopes."

Zubeldia returns to the Spanish Worlds team following an eight year absence, and he's eager to form an important cog in yet another Oscar Freire victory.

"It is clear that we are here to work and help Oscar, because he is a safe asset and very dependable, and that presents a great opportunity for us to achieve the victory."

The winner of this summer's Tour de l'Ain has had a redemptive second half of the season following a broken wrist that took him out of the Dauphine and thus out of the Tour de France. The 33 year old rider returned with a vengeance following his recovery from the injury to take the win at the Tour de l'Ain, then followed that performance with an 11th and a 4th place at North America's first ever ProTour races, the GP Quebec and the GP Montreal.

"It's pretty cool to be in this position at the end of the season. In Canada, I felt great in both of the world class races, although they were shorter."

Zubeldia will toe the line on Sunday with eight other Spanish teammates: Carlos Barredo, Imanol Erviti, Oscar Freire, Juan Manuel Garate, Ruben Plaza, Luis Leon Sanchez, Samuel Sanchez, and Francisco Jose Ventoso.

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