Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Euskaltel confirm Bru signing

Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi today confirmed the signing of Yon Bru Pascal on it`s website www.fundacioneuskadi.com. As earlier announced on this page, he joins Euskaltel from the defunct Pro Conti team Kaiku. Yon Bru said that he was very excited about this move, and that riding for his "home"-team will give him an extra motivation to work hard and train. He further said that he was very excited about the possibility of riding Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Fleche Wallonne, races that are very suited to his qualities. Welcome Yon!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Euskaltel head to the US

As reported on www.fundacioneuskadi.com today, Haimar Zubeldia, Samu Sanchez and Igor Antón will head over the Atlantic Sea to improve their aerodynamics and TTing in the famous wind-tunnel in San Diego. Under the guidance of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who was a very good TTer himself, they will leave Euskadi on the last day of November, and will run several tests in California for a few days. I think this is a brilliant initiative from Euskaltel. More and more riders are using wind-tunnels to improve their TTing skills, and it certainly helps. There is no reason why the Euskaltel leaders shouldn`t try them out as well, as Euskaltel and TTing hasn`t always been the best combination. If Haimar rediscovers his 2003 TTing, he might, just might, get a podium place in a GT one year. Samu and Igor are not bad at all either, as they`ve both shown this year, but there`s room for improvement.

Positives and negatives 2006


  • has shown glimpses of his former self
  • started to win races again
  • back to top-form on occasions
  • won first stage-race since Dauphiné 2004
  • sorted out his future
  • good classic-campaign
  • insulted the camera-man in the Tour
  • new start to his career
  • improved TTing


  • failed in the Tour
  • bad Vuelta
  • very unconsistent
  • left Euskaltel
  • not friends with Madariaga anymore (it seems)
  • will no longer be "the orange hope"
  • troubled by illness

Samu Sanchez wins again

Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez of Euskaltel added another victory to his palmarès yesterday. Sanchez won the Criterium de la Asociación de Ciclistas Profesional Españoles in Boadilla del Monte, ahead of strong-men Pereiro Sio and Gomez Marchante. Euskaltel-Euskadi won the TTT, where Samu had team-mates Haimar Zubeldia, Igor Anton, Iñigo Landaluze, Koldo Fernandez and David Herrero alongside him, in the race, which helped set up Samu for the overall win later in the day.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jon Bru joins Euskaltel

Jon Bru Pascal has opted to join Euskaltel-Euskadi prior to the 2007 season. The very talented 29-year-old comes from the now defunct Kaiku team. Last year, Bru took his first two wins in the professional ranks, namely the second and fourth stage in the Volta ao Distrito de Santarém. Though, his most notable result came in the 2005 edition of the Clasica Donostia/San Sebastian, where he ended up a brilliant 5th. At Euskaltel he`ll join up with former Kaiku`s Jorge Azanza, Andoni Aranaga and Dioni Galparsoro. Bru has always been regarded as a very talented rider, and perhaps he`ll exploit his full potential with "home"-team Euskaltel.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Iban happy with Tour route

In a small interview with Spanish newspaper Gara, Iban said he was quite happy with next year`s Tour de France showpiece route. "It reminds me of the 2003 edition, where I finished 6th and won the l`Alpe d`Huez stage", he said. "The mountains come early, the first TT comes after the Alps and there`s no TTT." Iban pointed to the Colombière on the first mountain stage to be decisive, along with the Pyreneean tops Col d`Aubisque and the Plateau de Beille. He expects the overall to be sorted out somewhat before the first TT, but says that the Pyrenees will decide the eventual winner.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tour 2007: One for Iban?

Prior to today`s unveiling of the Tour de France parcours 2007, I prayed for a mountainious route. My prayers were partly answered. With 6 mountain stages on the menu, it could have been a lot worse, but also a lot better. The chances for Iban shining like in 2003 are definetely there, but he won`t go for the overall I`m afraid, as next year`s route looks very similar to the one this year. Two long TTs, both over 50 km, will probably be decisive for the final outcome. And even though Iban has improved remarkably in this descipline, he`s still bound to lose some minutes to the specialists.

With three summit finishes, Iban`s chances of winning a stage seems rather big if he finds the form. Especially the queen-stage to the Col d`Aubisque seems tailor made for Iban. Four big mountains to climb, with the Aubisque ending in the Pyreenes, should be an objective for Iban come July. In the Pyrenees he`s bound to be cheered on by thousands and thousands of crazy Basques, cheering on their biggest hero. A win there would be absolutely amazing. Picture your self Iban winning the queen-stage in the Tour surrounded by orange-clad Basques shouting his name. Then, once again, Iban would be on top of the world. That would be a dream come true. Aupa Iban!

Iban`s season in pictures

On the attack in a disappointing Vuelta a España

Shining in San Sebastian

Winning the Vuelta a Burgos

Parting ways with Euskaltel

Pulling out of the Tour

Winning in the Dauphiné

Winning the Subida Urkiola

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another year for Laiseka?

It`s looking increasingly likely that the immensely popular and talented climber Roberto Laiseka will return to the peloton the next season. The 37-year-old from Viscaya crashed in the middle of the Giro d`Italia back in May, something which left him with a shattered knee. Laiseka has been sidelined ever since, and since he was already then 37-years-old, many expected him to put an end to a brilliant career, a career that includes stage victories in the Tour and the Vuelta. But it doesn`t look like that will happen, as signals coming out from the rider himself and Euskaltel is that he will be a part of Euskaltel team anno 2007. Laiseka recently had an operation on his knee, and the doctors expect him to be able to train as normal in the next ten days. Roberto Laiseka is a man capable of winning any mountain-stage on his day, and there`s no doubt that he`ll strengthen the team considerably if he stays.

Euskaltel palmarès 2006

When Euskaltel-Euskadi look back on the 2006 season, they can look back on a fairly good season in general. Euskaltel riders have stood on the top step of the podium 13 times. 6 of those victories came in the Pro Tour, while the remaining 7 came on the Continental level. Further, Euskaltel have amassed 12 second places, 8 in the Pro Tour and 4 in the Continental division, and 11 third places, 5 in the Pro Tour and 6 on Continental level. The rider with the most wins is Samu Sanchez, with Iban in a close second with 4.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Paco Javier Aramendia joins Euskaltel

19-year-old promising Basque Fransisco Javier Aramendia has agreed to join Euskaltel. The rider from Caja Rural has agreed to ride for Orbea for the coming year, before joining Euskaltel and the Pro Tour in 2008. He`s tied with Euskaltel-Euskadi from 2008 until 2009. Aramendia is widely regarded as one of the Basque Country`s most gifted riders, and Euskaltel have been monitoring his progress for some time now.

Iban and the classics

Iban on the podium in Liège in 2003

When Iban was becoming one of the world`s leading cyclists in the year of 2003, he noted himself not only as a brilliant climber, but also as a very good and promising classics rider. His good 16th place in Fleche was followed up by an amazing second in Liège, and a new classic star was born, many thought. Though, this didn`t materialise. Why not?

In the years of 2003 and 2004, Iban was at his very best. Not only did he win mountain stages, he won on hilly terrain and even won when breaking free from the peloton on a sprinter`s course 2 km. from the finish. He was considered an all-rounder, if you look away from the TTs. His spring campaign in the classics was extraordinary. Second in Liège was noteworthy indeed, as he came close to be the first Spanish winner of the prestigious race. But, after the infamous 2003 Tour, Iban`s goals and objectives changed dramatically, at least that what it looks like. No more classics, just stage-races and the Tour. Don`t think that was the wisest decision he`s ever taken. After a dismall last half of 2004, and a bad, to say the least, 2005 season, Iban returned to the spring classics this season. Though he didn`t intend to peak for them, he was in good condition, and showed what he is worth in hilly classics with an 18th. and 23rd. place in Fleche and Liège respectively. He then rode the Clasica San Sebastian-San Sebastian, where he had a brilliant ride, and probably was the strongest in the bunch. He didn`t record any result of note though, as he was reeled in with 5 km. to go. But nevertheless, Iban`s classic campaign 2006 has been a success.

Next year, I hope that Iban will ride the classics with Saunier as a captain. He`s got all the necessary qualities to win either one of the three Ardennes classics, and I sincerely hope he will exploit that potential.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More wallpapers

I`ve added some more wallpapers, which you can download under the "various" section to the right. I use Iban wallpapers as background all the time, it always makes me cheer up seeing Iban celebrating a win every time I turn on my computer.

Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano

As I mentioned breifly in my previous post, Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano Aranzabal (left) is the new sporting director at Pro Conti team Orbea. Yes, he is Igor`s brother, and was a very good rider himself once. After the 2004 season, he put an end to his career as a rider. His most memorable season was 2000, when he became national champion on the road, and one a stage apiece in the Vuelta and the Giro. He rode four years for Euskaltel, and his appointment as Euskaltel`s feeder-club director, might be a signal that Alvaro may join the Euskaltel bord in a few years or so. He was a talented rider, and certainly seems to know what he`s doing in management, so this will probably be profitable for both Orbea and Euskaltel. Seeing Alvaro leading Euskaltel in a few years ,together with his brother Igor, would be awesome I think.

Orbea stays in the peloton

Professional Continental team Orbea will stay in the peloton for at least another year. This decision was taken after the Orbea Cycling team and the Fundacion Euskadi came to an agreement earlier today. The bord of directors and the new manager, Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, brother of Euskaltel director Igor, were very happy with this agreement, ant thanked Fundacion Euskadi and their patrocinadores for their financial support. The Euskaltel feeder-team will consist of 16 riders next year, and hopefully some of these can make the jump to Euskaltel in the future. Great news for Euskaltel and Basque cycling.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Euskaltel roster not finalized

The roster for the coming season have not been made official. Currently, Euskaltel have 27 riders under contract for next season. That could turn 28 if Roberto Laiseka decides to ride for another year. Though, each team in the Pro Tour are allowed to have up to 30 riders, so to add a couple more riders is not unthinkable. Euskaltel were made up of 28 riders this season, but rumours have it that Madariaga and Gonzalez de Galdeano are keen on a 30-men strong roster for 2007. Possible new riders could be Pedro Arreitunandia of Barloworld, the Osa brothers of the previous Liberty Seguros team, though they have to be cleared in the Operacion Puerto case if that is to be an option, Kaiku`s Bru and Urtasun Perez and perhaps also earlier Euskaltel rider Mikel Pradera of Caisse d`Epargne-Illes Balears. But, I have to remind you folks, it`s just rumours.

So far, Euskaltel have added the very good all-rounder Mikel Astarloza, promising sprinter Galdos Alonso, the brilliant Jorge Azanza, talented climber Ametz Txurruka, previous Euskaltel rider Galparsoro and the amazingly talented neo-pros Aperribay and Lafuente. Though, I`d have loved to see Arreitunandia in an Euskaltel shirt...

Future uncertain for Orbea

Professional Continantal team Orbea`s future is still unresolved. The small Spanish team, known as Euskaltel-Euskadi`s farmer team, has enjoyed success on the Continantal-stage the last seasons, but due to a bad financial situation, the team might not be around come next season. Lack of sponsors is the reason to this mess. Orbea wants more financial support from Euskaltel, though, Euskaltel`s budget is not the biggest in the world, so that may not be possible. Finding new sponsors hasn`t been easy for Euskaltel`s farmer team, and the resolution may be that the team will cease to exist. Orbea has been very important for Euskaltel`s young generation, producing excellent riders such as Beñat Albizuri, Alan Perez and Ruben Perez, all riding professionally with Euskaltel now. Though the situation seems bad at the moment, there is still hope that Orbea will find the necessary money to continue racing. Euskaltel are also hopeful of reaching an agreement with Orbea, as the Euskaltel bord of directors are fully aware of Orbea`s importance to the new generation of Basque cyclists.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A class act

Iban Mayo has often been dubbed "the special one", "the great orange hope", "classy", "a class act" for years now, just to mention a few. But besides his obvious talent and ability as a cyclist, what is it that makes Iban stand out from the rest? What makes this guy so special that everyone calls him "a rider with class"?

I was reading an interview with former Euskaltel director Julian Gorospe on an Italian Euskaltel-Euskadi blog, which you by the way can access on the right-hand menu, when a question and it`s answer made me think. "What riders have stood out the most during your time with Euskaltel?", or something in that manner, the reporter asked. He answered:" Obviously Iban Mayo, he`s the most classy one, by far. He`s given a lot, and still has a lot to give." Iban is often referred to as "classy" by his peers, but what does that mean? Well, first of all, Iban`s racing style ,when in form, is "classy". When he`s peaking, and a big mountain is up next, you can bet on Iban to totally crush his rivals and win comfortably. That`s class, pure class. Being able to simply outclass anyone, and leave no doubt as to who is the strongest, is the making of a "classy"-rider. Iban has got that ability. The ability to win by minutes on l`Alpe d`Huez, Mont Ventoux, La Toussuire, Naranco, Urkiola....the list goes on. Winning by minutes on a summit finish is not every day stuff, not even with a talented rider as Iban unfortuantely. His form can be...anything. You never know, though explaining Iban`s strange ability to lose form in the blink of an eye is not the purpose of this small article.

Iban is often referred to as a charismatic rider as well. He`s extremely popular among the ladies, due to his good looks and characteristic, long, curly neck hair. His popularity in the Basque country, as well as the whole Iberian peninsula, is unbelievable. The Tour of 2003 took Spain by storm, and no matter how his career envolves further, he`ll always remain popular. Charismatic is a hard word to explain, but I think, or at least hope, that you get what I mean when I say that Iban is charismatic.

Iban`s talent can not be doubted. We all know that he`s among the most natural talented riders around. His climbing when he`s in form is simply the best in the world I reckon. But can he put his class on show more with Saunier than he did with Euskaltel the last years? His classy and charismatic riding was what we got used to as early as in 2001. Though we`ve seen some of it this year, I hope to see more of it the following seasons.

Euskaltel for the Tour 2007

In his four last years with Euskaltel, Iban has been their undisputed leader for the Tour de France. Now that he`s not here anymore, who will take on leadership duties?

As any other team in the elite level of cycling, the Tour de France is what really matters. The same goes for Euskaltel of course. Though Euskaltel`s showing in France have varied from world-class to lacklustre, it`s still their biggest objective. Iban has naturally been the captain the last years, but the performances and the stability of Haimar Zubeldia have caught the eye. Many would assume that, now that Iban isn`t going to be around anymore, Haimar will get the full backing of the team. Nope, don`t think so. Sure, he`ll ride it, and he`ll peak for it, but Haimar will not be the sole leader of Euskaltel-Euskadi. I`m thinking that Euskaltel will have their usual two leaders for the Tour. Previously it was Iban and Haimar, next year I think it will be Samu and Haimar. Samu has shown his worth in stage races the last couple of years, improving all the way, and I`m predicting he`ll be right up there on the overall come the end of July. Together with Haimar, he`ll be the protected one. They will both ride for the overall, but Samu has the versatality to fight for the stage wins on hilly terrain, and will probably do so I think. I can imagine Haimar fighting for a top 5, and Samu maybe even a podium spot. The Tour 2007 promises to be a good one for Euskaltel; maybe, just maybe, even as good as the 2003 edition

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Support is what he needs

When Iban had decided to part ways with Euskaltel-Euskadi, he got a question from a DEIA reporter: "Are you afraid of what the Euskaltel fans will do, now that you`ve changed teams?". Iban paused, before saying: "Yes, a little bit. I don`t know how they will react to all this." Well, I`ve got one message for all you Euskaltel fans out there: Do not treat him badly, support him! Leaving a team after seven years, and after having brought them so much success, is no sin. Just spending seven years with the same team in itself is astonishing. Iban will need all the support he can get. I encourage all of you to support him just as much as you did when he was with Euskaltel. That`s what he deserves, and that`s what he needs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Euskaltel without Iban

Euskaltel-Euskadi without Iban Mayo doesn`t sound right. Seeing Iban dancing his way up the mountains without the trademark orange jersey is going to be strange. Iban has been the symbol of Euskaltel for so many years now, so how will they do without him? How will the Basque national team do without the Basque country`s best rider?

To put it straight: Iban has given immense success to Euskaltel the last five years. 22 victories is huge, something that has meant a big deal for Basque cycling`s introduction on the world-stage. Let`s face it; without Iban, Basque cycling would not be where it is today. But will Euskaltel survive without him? Frankly, I`d say yes. I think they will. They may lose some of their publicity, as Iban Mayo is a big name in the cycling-world, but in the long-term, they will cope. Young prospects like Igor Anton, Samu Sanchez, Ruben Perez, Aitor Hernandez and Antton Luengo will hopefully take another step forward next season to fill the huge gap left by their captain. Add that with solid performers Landaluze, Etxebarria, Isasi, Astarloza, Zubeldia, you name it, I think they will have a good season. Neo pros Lafuente and Apperibay also have good careers in front of them. The future looks bright for Euskaltel, even without their biggest star.

The roster, which by the way isn`t finalized yet, looks solid to say the least. You`ve got all sort of riders. For the stage races, there`s Haimar, Anton, Sanchez and maybe also Laiseka. For the sprints, you`ve got Isasi, Koldo Fernandez, Perez, Galdos Alonso and hopefully also Andoni Aranaga. For breakaways, Etxebarria, Landaluze, Azanza, Perez, Hernandez etc. For the TTs, Astarloza, Haimar, Irizar. For the climbs, Anton, Haimar, Luengo Celaya, Sanchez, Txurruka + many more. For the classics, Sanchez, Galdos Alonso, Astarloza, Etxebarria. On paper at least, it seems promising. Iban will be missed, surely, but the team must go on. The team is always going to be bigger than the rider. That`s what Gonzalez de Galdeano have been talking about all year. The team is more important than one rider, no matter what.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Basque connection

Saunier Duval have suddenly got a big contingent of Basque riders for the next season. Joining Iban at Saunier will be former Euskaltel-team mate and Basque Iker Camaño along with the very talented Beñat Intxausti from Seguros Bilbao. Another Basque, climbing specialist Koldo Gil, is already with the team, along with promising Arkaitz Duran. Though sad that such good riders prefer to ride with other teams than Euskaltel, it`s nice that Basque cyclists are having success anyway. There are a huge contingent of Basque riders in the peloton now, something which is great to see. The Basques should have their own national team. That would be one hell of a team I imagine...

Mayo for the Giro?

It seems increasingly more likely that Iban will rider the Giro d`Italia for the very first time next season. He says that he want to ride it to help Gilberto Simoni win the overall, and that the 21 racing days may prove valuable come the Tour in July. Mayo has never ridden the Giro, but says that he has wanted to for some years now, but that Euskaltel have denied him the chance and talked him out of it. But with Saunier, he will probably get his chance.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mayo: "Extremely difficult to leave Euskaltel"

In todays press conference in Bilbao, Iban talked about his move to Saunier, a bit about next year`s calendar, his new objectives and his hope of returning to 2003 form.

Iban said that leaving Euskaltel was extremely difficult, but that he was very happy with his move to Saunier Duval. He further said that the "code of ethics" was no problem, he had already signed that one, but he couldn`t sign the "internal code". The "code of ethics" is a code concerning doping, doping policies and suspension, while the "internal code" is guidelines and rules for public appearances and public behaviour. He felt that the "internal code" was set up against his person, and that he disagreed with much of it`s content. Though, leaving Euskaltel, his only pro team to date, was a hard choice to make, but he felt it was necessary. He said that failing to explore his potential and live up to expectations made him lose motivation and illusions. He hoped that a switch of teams would take him back to former glories, the Tour of 2003 being the benchmark.

Many journalists were eager to know if he would change his racing calendar in search of the form of old. Iban said that they hadn`t discussed his calendar in depth, but that the Tour would be one of his goals, and that he may take to the start in the Giro for the very first time to reach that goal. Besides from that, nothing more were revealed. Towards the end of the press-conference, he thanked the Saunier Duval bord of directors for their faith in him, and their offer. He also said that joining up with Angoitia and "Matxin" Fernandez was something he looked very much forward to. It was clear that he was happy with his decision.

Mayo officially signed by Saunier

As expected, Iban today revealed that he has signed a contract with Pro Tour outfit Saunier Duval-Prodir for the coming two seasons. Saunier Duval´s webpage has also confirmed this. More on his press-conference later when more detailes are published.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mayo and Angoitia

When reading newspaper stories about Mayo`s future and eventual transfer to Saunier Duval, there have been one name in particular popping up everywhere as an important man when Iban was to make his choice; Sabino Angoitia. So who is this Sabino guy?

Sabino Angoitia Gaztelu (left) have for many years been an important man in Iban`s life, both on a professional level and on a personal level. Being a good rider himself, he is now a member of the Saunier Duval staff as a director. But, most importantly, he is Iban`s trusted friend and personal trainer. Iban and Angoitia go back years. In the Cafés Baqué equipment, where Iban rode as an amateur prior to joining Euskaltel, Angoitia was the directeur sportif. He stood by Iban and encouraged him in the most difficult period of his life, when Iban was in a wheel-chair following a bad crash. Since his Cafés Baqués days, they`ve been close, and Iban`s relationship to Angoitia was an important factor when Iban decided on leaving Euskaltel for Saunier Duval. Joining up with a director who`s your best friend was tempting , naturally, and so he did. Let`s hope Sabino can bring out the best in Iban.

Sanchez and Anton end season on a high

Euskaltel has enjoyed a great end to the season. In the Pro Tour classified Giro de Lombardia, Samu Sanchez recorded a brilliant second place, 5 seconds adrift of winner Paolo Bettini. Igor Anton also did a great race, finishing in 20th. place.

Today, in the Escalada a Montjuic, Igor Anton won overall after winning the final test against the clock and being 6th. in the first road stage. This marked a brilliant ending to a brilliant season by the young pro. "Fuji" won the Calar Alto mountain stage in this years Vuelta a España, where he also ended up 15.th overall. I`m looking forward to see what he can come up with next season.

Mayo to unveil future

A press conference is scheduled to take place at 12 o`clock in Bilbao on Monday the 16th. of October. Here, Mayo will reveal his plans for the future, though it`s not likely that it will be exciting, as Mayo is almost certainly just going to tell that he`s signed a two-year contract with the Cantabrian Pro Tour team Saunier Duval-Prodir. But it would be good to just get it official and move on.

Italian Euskaltel blog

If you`re interested in reading a very good Euskaltel blog in Italian, visit www.euskaltel.ilblog.it/. Here you`ll find the latest news about Euskaltel and all Euskaltel riders. Visit it, you`ll like it I`m sure.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Basque cyclists

I`m currently trying to expand my "Basque cyclists" link list to the right. But as you may see, I`m having some trouble finding homepages for Basque cyclists. Please leave a comment or contact me if you know about someone I`ve missed. Thanks.

Mayo to sign by Monday

Well, that`s at least what acknowledged Basque daily El Correo reports on it`s websites. They claim that the team of "Matxin" Fernandez will make the signing official over the weekend, most probably on Monday. Here he will join up with former Cafés Baqué-manager Sabino Angoitia Gaztelu, now his personal trainer, and fellow new basques Beñat Intxausti and Iker Camaño. The story also mentioned that Mayo won`t just be racing for the Tour next year, as I predicted yesterday:) Though, they didn`t say exactly what races were on his agenda.

Iban`s new role

Assuming that Iban joines Saunier Duval prior to the 2007 season, what will his role be in the team? Will he be the sole leader for the Tour, or will he be riding the classics?

At Euskaltel, Iban`s role as team leader was undisputed. Every year he planned his whole season around the Tour, and despite solid performances from Haimar Zubeldia, he got the backing of the team. He was their captain, no matter what form he was in. But will things be the same with Saunier? Saunier Duval have a frightening team for the grand tours next year, on paper at least. José Angel Gomez Marchante, Leonardo Piepoli, Gilberto Simoni and Koldo Gil is one hell of a quartet. Add Mayo, and Saunier have major overall candidates for all grand tours, that will be the Giro, Tour and the Vuelta. I guess Simoni and Piepoli will do the Giro. No Mayo for the Giro, that`s for sure, unless he wants to use it as Tour-preparation. And with Simoni and Piepoli doing the Giro, the chances for any of them to be captain, or even ride the Tour, are very slim. But then, will it be all out for Iban come the Tour? Don`t think so. After the progress Gomez Marchante has shown this year, they simply can`t leave him out. I think it will be shared responsabilities for Mayo and Marchante in the Tour, with a strong team to back them up. And then, probably Gil for the Vuelta.

But how about the rest of the year? One of the main differences I think Saunier will do to his calendar, will be to try to get him in top form for Liège and Fleche Wallonne. We all know what Iban is capable of in the Ardennes classics, but sadly, they haven`t been on his list of priorities the last couple of years. I think Mayo will try to reach two peaks next year, not just the regular one. First the classics, and maybe the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and then the Tour. Or maybe it will be just like with Euskaltel, only the Tour. I don`t know. All this is just personal thoughts and hopes. I`ve got nothing to back this up. No sources. But I`ll let you know once I get some. Until then, just speculations.

Friday, October 13, 2006


As most of you probably have noticed, all kinds of links can be found at the right-hand menu. There are many different catagories, but if there are some sites you miss or you want me to add, feel free to say so. If you want your own blog for example to figure under "cycling blogs", just leave a comment and I`ll add it. Or if you want me to add links to spanish races, just let me know. I`ll be glad to add or change anything.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quo vadis, Iban?

As Iban has made it clear that his future lies elsewhere, probably with Saunier Duval, one have to ask the simple question: What now Iban? Will we see the Iban of 2003 and 2004, or will Iban be the same rider with Saunier as he was with Euskaltel?

When Iban was at the top of his form back in the lovely summer of 2003, he signed an important contract. He tied himself to Euskaltel, the team of his dreams, until 2006. That`s a long time. Especially in cycling, where fortunes could suddenly turn against you. And that`s just what happened to Iban. Suddenly, cycling wasn`t just a bed of roses when form eluded Iban time and time again, and the results many expected to come, didn`t. Problems with the sport directors of Euskaltel started, and his relationship with Julian Gorospe in particular got worse every time Iban didn`t deliver the goods. It didn`t help that his morale hit rock bottom either, and people started wondering where the Mayo of 2003 had gone. So, without form, without illusions, without morale and without the best of relationships with his directors, what to do? A change of teams, many would say. Well, he had a contract until December 2006. So the only real option was to stay, and try to make the best out of it. But, with ongoing disputes between the ever-charismatic Iban and his bord of directors, the surroundings weren`t the best to say the least. The relationship recorded an all time low when Iban pulled out of the Tour without speaking to any of his team members or directors. Euskaltel have a bad habit of making every dispute within the team public, and no exception this time. Especially señor Gorospe was angry, and it was obvious that Iban`s chemistry with the leading figures of Euskaltel wasn`t the very best.

So, to start from scratch again in new surroundings and no enemies, sounded nice. And when Saunier Duval expressed interest, Iban probably did the wisest thing after all. Though still sad that Mayo will leave Euskaltel, I think the move to Saunier will perhaps help Mayo to exploit the potential we all know he`s got. Without the pressure of a whole "nation" (the Basque country) on his shoulders, and without the troublesome relationship with the directors, Mayo may feel a bit liberated and able to focus solely on the bike. A change of environment may be to the good. Let`s hope this makes Iban rediscover his form of old. No matter where you go, I`ll support you. Aupa Iban!

Saunier Duval closing in

Saunier Duval is closing in on Iban Mayo`s signature, but still, nothing is official. Saunier Duval-Prodir team manager Mauro Gianetti (left), told AFP: "Nothing is signed, but we hope to pull together an agreement within the next week". As Mayo also stated that Saunier Duval was his preferred team after leaving Euskaltel after a seven-year stint with the team, it seems like just a matter of time before Saunier Duval can confirm another big signing. If he joins the Cantabrian team, he will join up with recent-Euskaltel rider Iker Camano, who recently signed a two-year deal with them.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Madariaga feels deceived

In an interview with Spanish daily DEIA after negotiations with Mayo broke down, Euskaltel-Euskadi director Miguel Madariaga (left) says he feels deceived by the rider. Answering questions from Unai Larrea, who asked if he felt deceived by the rider, Madariaga said: "Yes, because I think the decision was taken a long time ago". Further on, Madariaga expressed he was sad that Mayo left, and that he was an unreplacable rider. He also denied his relationship with Iban was a bad one, and that they had always been friends. But, he was very displeased by the way things happened, especially as Mayo`s reason for leaving was the "internal code of ethics". Answering on whether he considered changing the "code" a bit to pursue Mayo to stay, his answer was a resounding "no, not at all". He claimed everyone on the team had to sign this form, though that contradicts what Mayo earlier said. He said he spoke to riders who newly renewed their contracts, and none of them had heard of a "code of ethics". Mayo felt the "code" was a personal attack, and decided that his future was not with Euskaltel. He further said that he hoped his fans would understand that the circumstances with Euskaltel had become too difficult. Even though how sad this whole Mayo saga is, a change of air might just be what he need.

Saunier Duval next?

As the news that Iban will leave Euskaltel this season broke, it seems highly likely that he will join the Saunier Duval-Prodir outfit. The Cantabrian team, directed by Joxean "Matxin" Fernandez, have shown an interest in Iban, and talks are due to be held in the next few days. "They have made a big offer, and the team believes in me. That is important", Iban has said of Saunier Duval. Though, he said it was hard to leave his home team, but that the "internal code" he had to sign, couldn`t be accepted. It was not the money that made Iban leave, they had agreed on the economic issues, but it was this code that contains rules for public appearances and public behaviour. According to Madariaga, head of Fundacion Euskadi, everyone on the team had to sign this "internal code", though Iban wasn`t so sure of that. More on the "internal code"-controversy later.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mayo leaves

The sad news that Iban Mayo will leave Euskaltel finally broke at 19.00 o`clock. www.fundacioneuskadi.com reported that Iban called the directors of the Basque equipment at 18.30, where, in a quick conversation, said that he rejected their offer. Nothing more was said, and I`m extremely saddened to say that Mayo`s time with Euskaltel is over. Since joining Euskaltel, he`s been their undoubted leader and has been the symbol for Basque cycling ever since. He brought them success, huge success, and racked up 22 wins. Now, all I can do is to wish him the best for the future. But I can`t believe his future isn`t with Euskaltel, he is Euskaltel. Or was....

Iban Mayoz renews with Euskaltel

24-year-old Iban Mayoz (left) today reached an agreement which will make him an Euskaltel rider in 2007, reports www.fundacioneuskadi.com. Iban Mayoz joined Euskaltel from Relax-Fuenlabrada prior to this season, and though Madariaga and Gonzalez de Galdeano weren`t sure on whether to keep him or not, they gave him a new one-year deal. Though not able to get any results of note, he rode a good Giro d`Italia where he was active in many breakaways. He rode a good and consistent Tour of Poland too, where he placed 27th. overall. (picture courtesy of Monika Prell)

Iban to answer Euskaltel

Reports coming from Basque newspaper El Correo today, suggests that Iban is close to finalizing his future. On October the 9th. a meeting took place between Iban and the directors of Euskaltel, where they offered him a new and improved contract. Though not quite what Iban wanted, it was nonetheless a much-improved offer, and Iban have alledgedly told Madariaga and the rest that his intention was to stay with Euskaltel, and that he would respond today or in the next few days. Madariaga also informed Iban about the new project of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, and the changes that Euskaltel will go through in the future. Things certainly look good, but all we can do now is to wait for Iban`s answer.

Martxa Zicloturista Iban Mayo Lagunartea

131 cyclists took to the start in the first edition of the Marcha Cicloturista Iban Mayo/Martxa Zicloturista Iban Mayo on the 9th. of October. The race was hosted by his fan club, the Iban Mayo Lagunartea, and was a tribute to him. The race started in his native village Igorre and took the riders the 111 kilometres from Igorre to the top of Urkiola, where Iban won in August`s edition of the Subida Urkiola. Iban participated himself, along with fellow pros Julen Zubero of Orbea, Gorka Amuriza and Joseba Agirrezabala. Joseba Iraola was the eventual winner of the race, covering the 111 kilometres in 3 hours 37. 118 of the original 131 starters finished. The mayor of Igorre, Joseba Ipinazar, was of course present on this "brilliant day for cicloturismo". The people responsible for the race were very satisfied by the way everything turned out. 131 starters in a newly started amateur race, is not bad at all most would agree. The race is planned to be held next year as well, and the Iban Mayo Lagunartea is hoping for even more starters then.

Iker Camano leaves Euskaltel

Iker Camaño Ortuzar will, according to Basque daily El Correo, leave Euskaltel to join fellow Spanish Pro Tour outfit Saunier Duval-Prodir. Camaño joined Euskaltel in 2004 from Phonak, and though not able to win any races, he has been an important and valued team member. Iker Camaño has particularly impressed in the Tour de France. In 2004 he finished as number 26, and this year finished 35th. Camaño joining Saunier Duval will be a loss to Euskaltel, but a guy like Astarloza should be able to replace him.

Monday, October 09, 2006


  • The early years

Iban Mayo Diez was born in Igorre, a small town in the Basque province of Viscaya, on the 19th. of August 1977. As almost every pro rider, he started cycling early on. In Iban`s case, when he was nine. His talent soon became evident, and as an amateur he joined Banesto. His spell with Banesto didn`t go as planned, as he injured himself badly, and left for Café Baqué after two years. In his second season with the small, yet well known, Spanish team, he stood on top of the podium no less than 13 times, and was already then a climbing specialist. At 20 years of age, he decided to go for a career as a professional cyclist, and his impressive record made professional teams very keen to take him one. But he only wanted to join his home team, Euskaltel-Euskadi. He became professional with the Basque outfit in 2000, when he was 22 years old.

  • The great orange hope

In his first year as a pro, Iban didn`t to anything spectacular, but went close to a win once, when he came second on the fourth stage of the GP CCRLVT. Though, in 2001, Iban signalled his arrival with the big-boys. By taking three highly impressive wins, the overall of the Midi Libre, the Classique des Alpes and a stage in the Dauphiné Libéré, pluss many second places and good overall placings, Iban was quickly dubbed "the great orange hope", with "orange" reflecting the colours of Euskaltel. He was the new saviour of Basque cycling.

  • On top of the world
2002 was the year Iban signalled his potential as a Grand Tour contender, claiming a fifth place overall in the Vuelta a España. His abilities and consistency in the mountains were amazing to say the least, coming from such a young and unexperienced rider. His great Vuelta performance saved an otherwise disappointing season, where injuries played an important role. His knee-problems hampered him and made him unable to race and train as much as he would have liked to. But if fortune had been against him in 2002, 2003 turned out to be the other way around. His 2003 season was nothing short of phenomenal, claiming seven big wins that made him the most exciting and flamboyant rider in the peloton. Three stages and the overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, two stages and second overall in the Dauphiné and a second place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège made him one of the favourites for the Tour de France that year, and he didn`t disappoint. Winning the Alpe d`Huez stage solo two minutes in front of Armstrong, coming home second and third in two other stages and finishing sixth overall was the stuff of champions. He was the symbol of Euskaltel, Basque cycling and was Spanish cycling`s hottest property. Such was the expectations, that he was touted as the great Miguel Indurain`s inheritor.
2004 started out just the way he ended 2003; winning races in commanding fashion. Winning the Subida al Naranco, the Vuelta a Asturias overall and the Clasica Alcobendas made for a great start to his season, which only got better by claiming a second overall placing in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and winning the Dauphiné and taking an amazing two stage wins along the way. Especially his TT win up the Ventoux, where he sat a new best time and "tried to kill me" as Armstrong said by taking almost three minutes out of him, was the making of a great champion. His overall win made him one of, if not the, favourite for his season-target, the Tour de France.
  • The dark years
The Tour was his for the taking, but he failed tremendously. Calling it a day on the second rest day beacuse of mononucleosis and bad physical and mental state caused by a crash on stage 3, his abandonment signalled a two-year period with bad results and no wins. To try to avoid the same mistake for the 2005 season, Iban opted for a more relaxed approach to the Tour which included fewer races to make him fresh and hungry in July. But it was a complete failure, with Iban languishing to a lowly 60th. overall. Later he abandoned the Vuelta, and a season to forget was finally over. What had happened to Iban? Where was the Iban of 2003 and 2004? Where did his climbing skills go? No one knew, not even himself it seems. The great orange hope had suddenly become an also-ran in the peloton, far from what he was expected to do.
  • Redemption and revival
Iban approached the 2006 season with the same goal in mind as always; the Tour. Though, now expextations weren`t that high. Iban Mayo had become the lost son of cycling, the forgotten man, many said. But his team had faith in him, and after encouraging riding in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and in the Ardennes classics, Iban finally got the win he deserved. The stage victory in the Dauphiné on top of la Toussuire signalled Iban`s revival, and he was now rated as a dark-horse for the Tour. But illness prevented him once again in France, and he abandoned on stage 13. He left many wondering how he could go from heaven to hell in such a short space of time. He could win any race, beat anyone on his day, but then just being a regular cyclist the next day. But even though another failed Tour was hard to take, he bounced back with some style in August. Winning the Vuelta a Burgos and a stage, before winning the Subida Urkiola, showed Iban was once again back to his best. But expectations follow success, and everyone expected a good Vuelta from Iban. But come the Vuelta, Iban was back to his inconsistent best, and was way off the pace. Finishing 35th. in the Vuelta isn`t something to brag about when your name is Iban Mayo, and Iban ended his season there. Another season, with Iban everyhting from brilliant to lacklustre, came to a close.
  • Consistency
What the future holds for cycling`s most talented climber is hard to know. But consistency is the key word. If Iban can find his top form, something he did on several occasions this year, be consistent and finally avoid any illness, Iban will be the best in the world. I believe he can, and if that`s the truth, the future looks bright for the orange hope.

Changes to the blog

As you might have seen, I have added a "various" section to the sidebar. From there, you can
access his profile, palmares and his season review, and soon a biography and more. But sa you might have noticed, I have to post all these articles like regular "posts" to make them accessible under "various". Enjoy.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


  • Full name: Ibán Mayo Diez
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Place of birth: Igorre, Vizcaya, Spain
  • Date of birth: 19/08/1977
  • Height: 176 cm
  • Weight: 65 kg
  • Pulse: 44 bpm
  • Turned pro: 2000
  • Current team: None
  • Previous team as pro: Euskaltel-Euskadi
  • Previous teams as amateur: Banesto, Cafés Baqué
  • Victories as amateur: 13
  • Victories as pro: 22
  • Fan club: Iban Mayo Lagunartea

Basque prodigy Julen Goikoetxea dies

Julen Goikoetxea, a 21-year-old Basque super-talent, Friday committed suicide. The tragic news broke on Saturday, and since then, almost every Spanish cycling page and newspaper have been focusing on it. Julen Goikoetxea was one of Spanish cycling`s biggest hopes, and had agreed a deal with Euskaltel some time ago. He was supposed to ride for Orbea for one year, before moving to Euskaltel. But Goikoetxea had been suffering from depression for some time, and stopped cycling when he was in treatment. Allegedly, he had tried to take his own life a number of times, but had failed. But on Friday, October the sixth, he jumped from his own balcony and died momentarily. The tragedy has been met with sorrow and disbelief all over Spain, and I, and I´m sure I´m talking for all cycling fans as well, want to extend my condolences to his family and friends.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cause for optimism

As the rumours concerning Iban`s future continue to take new bends and turns on a daily basis, it seems to me that Iban actually prefers to stay with Euskaltel. If he gets the amount of money he wants, Euskaltel seems to be his first choice. Because, if he didn`t want to stay, why would he send them a counter-offer? Why is it taking such a long time to decide if he already knows he doesn`t want to stay with his current team? Think Iban prefers to stay in familiar surroundings, which he will find with Euskaltel. Perhaps he likes the new project led by Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, as Galdeano seems to know what he`s doing. I predict that by next Saturday, Iban has signed a new contract with the team he loves. After all, that`s where he belongs...

Iban Mayo 2006 season review

As the 2006 season newly came to an end, Iban can look back on a mixed season. 2006 has really been a rollercoaster ride; from the heights of winning in the Dauphiné, in Urkiola and in Burgos, to the lows of another disappointing Tour. Here`s a glance at Iban`s 2006 season as it unfolded:

Iban started the season with one goal in mind: the Tour de France. As a preparation for the biggeste cycling race in the world, he started out his season in races such as Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, Vuelta a Castilla y Léon and other Spanish races. In these races he didn`t record any results of note, though that wasn`t the meaning either. But in early April, Iban took to the start in his first Pro Tour race of the season, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The Vuelta al Pais Vasco is Iban and Euskaltel`s home race, and has served both parties very well in the past. This year, Samuel Sanchez was their captain, and through brilliant assistance from Iban and the rest of the team, recorded a brilliant sixth overall, racking up two hugely impressive stage-wins along the way. Iban was mostly doing solid teamwork, but got to show himself in some stages, most notably on the Jaizkibel. Though Iban was far from reaching top form, he placed a respectable 25th overall.

Then came the Ardennes classics, namely Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Iban started the two last ones, as co-captain together with an on-fire Samuel Sanchez. Though not able to fight it out for the win in either of the two, Iban recorded some good results. 18th. in the Fleche Wallonne and 23rd. in Liège-Bastogne-Liège was impressive stuff, and showed Iban was approaching form. Something he took advantage of big-time come the Dauphiné.

In early June, Iban took to the start in the French stage-race Dauphiné Libéré, known as the last dress-rehersal for the Tour. The Dauphiné has been the place for many of Iban`s greatest

victories to date, and Iban was hoping for a victory to boost his morale going in to the Tour. Though, the first mountain stage turned out to be the complete opposite. Iban ended far behind the leaders on the mythical Mont Ventoux stage, and a repeat of his 2003 overall win had
vanished. But even so, on the next stage, Iban was back to his very best. On the hard mountain stage, he finished second to Ludovic Turpin, a breakaway-survivor from Ag2R. Though, Iban had beaten the presumably best, and on the next mountain stage showed it was no fluke. On stage 6 from Briancon to La Toussuire, Iban finally got the much-needed win he was longing for. By riding away from David Arroyo, the Oscar Sevilla and finally Alejandro Valverde in the last 10 kilometres, he took his first win in two years in commanding fashion(pictured above). Iban was back with a bang, back at the top echelons of the sport. After demonstrating such red-hot form just prior to the Tour, Iban was suddenly alongside Basso, Vino and Ullrich as one of the main contenders for the overall win. Spirits were high, but sadly, the Tour didn`t go as planned this year either.

The Tour started out ok, and as the peloton got to the first mountain test, hopes were high in the Euskaltel camp. Could Iban finally rediscover his Tour form of 2003? Many thought so, myself included, but it wasn`t to be. A cold and a sore throat, caused by the air-conditioning in the hotel, left Iban struggling. On the first mountain stage, Iban arrived together with the gruppetto. You could tell Iban wasn`t well, and on the next stage, he threw in the towel after his throat got worse. It was all for nothing, as Iban headed back home after another failed attempt to conquer the Tour. Illness prevented him a shot at it this time around, but that was mere consolation for all of us. Pictures of Iban being pushed up the road by helpful and desperate team-mates is what`s left from the 2006 Tour.

After staying at home with his closest friends and family for a week, Iban soon returned to racing again. The Vuelta a Burgos was his first post-Tour race, and most of us were curious as to what state of form he was in now. After being ninth in the TT, winning the queen stage and taking home the overall, Iban gave us a clear answer. He was obviously in top condition. The Spanish one-day race Subida Urkiola was his next race, and yet again proved unbeatable. So, three wins in the bag, and next up were the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, a race taking place in the Basque Country. A Mayo in top-form and with "home"-advantage were touted by many as the most likely winner. And he was so close to doing just that. Breaking away with strong-men Sastre and Menchov on the feared Jaizkibel, they held of the chasing peloton until just five mere kilometres were left. Coming so close is always hard to swallow, but at least he got to show his form was still intact ahead of the Vuelta a España.

Iban was one of the biggest favourites for the three-week test Vuelta a España coming up in late August. Many predicted a first grand tour title for Iban, a title he had been expected to win since his arrival on the big-stage in 2003. But it wasn`t to be this time either. A very unstable Mayo performed well and encouraging on some seperate occasions, coming close to the win twice, but overall "just didn`t have the legs". Mayo ended the Vuelta in 35th. place on the general classification, as his grand tour-ghost continued to haunt him.

So, an up-and-down season is finished, but with one question remaining. Will Iban ever find the consistency to fight for the win in the Tour or the Vuelta? Only time will tell I guess. But it has nevertheless been an entertaining and exciting season for all of us. Aupa Iban!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Technical problems

Because of some networking problems with my lap-top, I haven´t been able to improve the site as much as I have wanted lately. But in the next few days these problems should be solved, so I hope that then everything will work as it should. Though, this wont affect the updates on the page, as these problems don´t affect the publishing. But the adds I planed, like a biography, palmarès, photos etc. will have to wait another couple of days. But keep checking the site every day for updates on Euskaltel, Iban and his future.

More rumours

According to Spanish website DEIA.com, Mayo have contract offers from more teams than earlier thought. Team Barloworld, a Pro Continental team hoping for a place in the Pro Tour next year, are allegedly very keen to take Mayo on. Team manager Corti is hoping Mayo will be their captain for the next seasons if he fails to land a deal somewhere else, but he´s facing some hard competition. Team CSC, widely recognised as the best team in the world, are hoping to take Mayo on if Puerto-suspect Ivan Basso doesn´t get cleared. If Basso gets suspended for wrong-doing, Bjarne Riis will go all out to secure Iban´s services for the next season. With Basso out of the picture, Mayo could become one of their GT leaders along with fellow countryman Carlos Sastre. Another Pro Tour outfit, French team Cofidis, have also made an offer to Iban, though, according to the author, this is not an option for him. So it seems like Iban will have to choose from Euskaltel, Saunier Duval, CSC and Team Barloworld, though an offer from CSC seems a bit unlikely, as a decision on Basso´s future probably wont be made in the very near future. But, I tell you, this is just rumours, nothing official. But the author, Unai Larrea, seemed to know what he was talking about.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Updated Euskaltel 2007 roster

Following the arrival of Dioni Galparsoro from Kaiku, the 2007 roster is now made up of 26 riders. Four more could follow, if Iban Mayo, Iban Mayoz, Roberto Laiseka and Iker Camaño choose to follow the equipment into the new season.

- Beñat Albizuri Aransoro
- Igor Anton Hernandez
- Lander Apperibay
- Andoni Aranaga Azkune
- Mikel Astarloza Chaurrau
- Jorge Azanza Soto
- Unai Etxebarria Arana
- Koldo Fernandez de Larre
- Aitor Galdos Alonso
- Dionisio Galparsoro
- Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez
- Iban Iriondo Uranga
- Markel Irizar Aranburu
- Iñaki Isasi Flores
- Iñigo Landaluze Intxaurraga
- Andoni Lafuente
- Antton Luengo Celaya
- Aketza Peña Iza
- Alan Perez Lezaun
- Ruben Perez Moreno
- Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez
- Amets Txurruka
- Unai Uribarri Artabe
- Gorka Verdugo Markotegui
- Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre
- Joseba Zubeldia Aguirre

Mayo makes counter-offer to Euskaltel

News coming out from several news agencies and newspapers yesterday and this morning, is that Iban has made a so called counter-offer to Euskaltel. He allegedly contacted Madariaga, head of Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi, on Tuesday, and sent a "reasonable" offer to Euskaltel. Mayo´s first contract offer from Euskaltel was a two-year-contract, though with a little less money involved than in earlier years. He said that he could not request the amount of money he had earned up until now, as his performances couldn´t justify his high salaries, but yesterday sent them a new offer, and is now awaiting their answer. Madariaga said that he would do anything in his power to make Iban stay, but said that the decision wasn´t all his, as he´s got a budget to follow and a sponsor to please as well. Let´s hope Iban gets what he wants and stays. He´s certainly worth the money.

Gerolsteiner not interested

At least one thing is certain considering Iban´s future, and that is that he will not be heading to Team Gerolsteiner. The Pro Tour team last night said through a spokesman that rumours linking them with Mayo is taken right out of the blue, stating: "That is totally ridiculous. Iban Mayo will most probably never appear on the roster of Team Gerolsteiner, and especially not in 2007.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Contract news

As reported yesterday, Haimar Zubeldia today signed a two-year-contract which will make him an Euskaltel rider until 2009 at least. This probably means that he´ll spend his entire pro career with his "home" team, as he´s been with them since he turned professional in 1998, and by the end of his new contract, will be 31. Such loyality that Haimar is showing is a very welcom sight in modern day cycling, as it´s very rare indeed to see a top class pro spend his entire career at one team. Though, I don´t mind, and certainly no other Euskaltel fans do either, as we all love him. Aupa Haimar!!
The very likeable and talented Markel Irizar Aramburu have also signed a new deal, in this case, a one-year extension. The 26-year-old from Oñati has had a good season, impressing in particular in the Giro and the Vuelta. His achievements in TTs has also been very encouraging and noteworthy.
The more surprising news coming from Euskaltel today, is the signing of the 28-year-old, former Euskaltel rider Dioni Galparsoro(pictured above). He spent the 2003 and the 2004 seasons at Euskaltel before heading to Pro Continental outfit Kaiku. Here he achieved two big wins: the fourth stage in the Vuelta a Asturias and the third stage in the Dreilander Rundfahrt( previously the Hessen Rundfahrt), with both coming in 2005. Dioni signed a one-year-contract, and though this signing may seem a little strange, there´s no doubting Dioni´s qualities as a cyclist. I wish him the best of luck for the 2007 season.


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