Euskaltel-Euskadi announces Tour de France line up
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Euskaltel-Euskadi announces Tour de France line up

by Ben Atkins at 11:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Basque team to practice team time trial this week

samuel sanchezThe Euskaltel-Euskadi team has announced the nine men that it is to send to next month’s Tour de France. This will be the eleventh successive Grand Boucle for the orange Basque squad, and the goal of a stage victory remains the same.

"Winning a stage is the fundamental objective," said the team’s general manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. “Last year we came very close, this year is we hope to do it. We know that Tour brings together the best cyclists in the world and there are men who have beaten us in the past, but also we dream of the podium. Last year we were very close with Samuel and it's a dream that remains."

In the 2010 race Sanchez finished second on the stage to Morzine-Avoriaz and third on the stage to Ax-3-Domains; he was also heading for the podium in the final week, before being overtaken by Denis Menchov in the final time trial.

While the team often wins stage in the Vuelta a España, it has only won three in the Tour de France: in 2001 Roberto Laiseka won the stage to Luz-Ardiden, in 2003 Iban Mayo won the prestigious stage to Alpe d’Huez; in 2009 Mikel Astarloza won the stage to Bourg-St-Maurice, but was later disqualified after having tested positive for EPO before the race.

While the 42.5km individual time trial in Grenoble on the penultimate day – which was previewed in this month’s Critérium du Dauphiné – will be important for Sanchez’ overall ambitions, so too will the 23km team test in Les Essarts on day two. For this reason, the orange team, which traditionally suffers in team time trials, will be getting together this coming Wednesday to specifically work on the discipline.

Gonzalez de Galdeano was a member of the ONCE team, which won and placed in a number of team time trials, as well as excelling in the individual event. The former rider will be hoping to pass on some of his own knowledge and experience to the Basque team; it finished tenth in 2009, the last time the team time trial featured in the Tour de France.

Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Tour de France:
Samuel Sánchez, Egoi Martínez, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Rubén Pérez, Iván Velasco, Alan Pérez, Pablo Urtasun and Gorka Izagirre


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