Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Up for the challenge

Euskaltel may be heading into its final season in 2012, but Gorka Gerrikagoitia - charged with leading the team in the absence of Igor González de Galdeano - remains unfazed. Speaking to el Diario Vasco at the team's camp in Derio yesterday, the DS said improving on this year's performances is not impossible.

"It sure won't be easy, but I do believe we can equal this year or maybe go even better", the former rider said. "This year's performance in the Giro will be difficult to replicate, but, aside from that race, I'd say it's feasible to improve. Samu won a stage and the KOM jersey and placed sixth overall in the Tour this year, but he might finished higher up next summer. We were pleased with the Vuelta, but we can do better there."

"Igor González de Galdeano staked out a path while he was at the helm that I intend to follow. In addition only three riders will join, so, from a sporting point of view at least, 2012 will be pretty similar to this year. I'm not afraid of the challenges ahead of me. The youngsters on the team will be a year older and wiser, and the veterans will do their part. I'm pleased with the group of riders we have here."

Gerrikagoitia reiterated País Vasco, the Tour and the Vuelta will be the main goals, and outlined which riders are likely to make the cut for for the biggest races.

"Samuel Sánchez will lead the team in the Tour, while Igor Antón will head up affairs in the Vuelta. Mikel Nieve will, together with Amets Txurruka, focus on the Giro. And Antón will have Iván Velasco by his side in Spain. The riders in the best shape, whether young or old, will take on País Vasco. Víctor Cabedo, for example, may race if he's in shape. We'll depend on veterans though in the Tour and Vuelta, and the likes of Verdugo, Martínez, Azanza and Oroz might also do País Vasco. Mikel Astarloza, Ricardo García, Romain Sicard, Gorka Izagirre, Rubén Pérez and Pablo Urtasun are slated for Down Under, and Astarloza will go on to race a pretty stacked calendar in the first half of the season."

The experienced directeur sportif also had a word for the troubled Romain Sicard, who's been in trouble both on and off the road recently.

"We really hope Sicard will get back into shape, that's why he'll start out in Australia. We need Sicard at this team".

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I like the idea of three leaders, I have high hopes for Nieve in the Giro as I'm sure that the responsibility will only spur him on. If this is indeed the last year for the boys, let us hope they go out in a blaze of glory!


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