Friday, November 30, 2007

"First to 21 wins"

The latest issue of Procycling, probably the best cycling mag out there, includes some lines about Iban and his multiple B-tests. The brilliant Jeff Jones, who writes the sarcastic and at times hilariously funny "Keeping up with the jones" news analysis, was obviously on Iban's side in this case. To quote Mr Jones, here it is: "Continuing on with the positive theme, it's absolutely fantastic to see rigorous scientific methods being employed in Iban Mayo's case. Positive A sample, negative B sample. Drop the case? No, just re-test the B sample until it comes back positive. Best of three. No wait, best of five. First to 21 wins". He got it spot on, huh?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Iban's fan club to show support

Iban's fan club, the Iban Mayo Lagunartea, will show it's support for Iban on Sunday. A race of the cyclo-cross World Cup will be held in Igorre, where he was born, on Sunday, and Iban's fans will take advantage of the occasion to showcase their support for Iban and his fight for justice. The fan club will bring a "Iban Mayo Justizia"'-placard, which I don't think needs translation, to the event, and will let their opinion show. It's a great initiative and, even though most people are aware of the injustice and unfair treatment he's being subjected to, will further put forward Iban's case to the public.

More plans for 2008

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano further revealed the team's plans for the upcoming season in today's Gara. In short, here's what he had to say:

  • The team will ride the Giro
  • Mikel and Haimar to lead in the Tour de France
  • Mikel and Igor will lead the team's charge in the Vuelta al País Vasco
  • Igor will probably not do the Tour; he'll focus on País Vasco and the Vuelta
  • Haimar will as usual aim for the Tour, but will also aim for some early-season stage-races
  • 10 riders, among them Haimar, Rubén, Iván Velasco, Amets and Aitor, will aim to start the season on a strong note
  • Samu's racing-calendar will be planned more in detail when he gets to know whether or not he'll do the Olympics

Either Igor or Samu to do Tour

Samu and Igor won't both do the Tour next year. If Samu does the Tour, then Igor will do the Vuelta. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano said to the press yesterday that if Samu's going to do the Olympics, he'll do the Tour, and then Igor will probably do the Vuelta instead. It's unlikely that they'll both ride the Grand Tour in July. Though, if Igor is to take part in the Vuelta, he'll lead the team, no doubt, according to Euskaltel's technical secretary. I had hoped they'd both ride the Tour de France, as they would, together with Haimar, Mikel and Egoi, form an awe-inspiring quintet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Euskaltel's plans for 2008

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has already given indications of how next year's racing-calendar will look like. The team will have approximately 25 racing-days less than this year. No races in Portugal will be done, while in France only the Pro Tour races will be on the team's schedule, except for the Tour and some Classics perhaps. The team will also give the Vuelta a la Rioja and the Giro del Trentino a miss next year, though the Giro di Piemonte will suprisingly be included in the team's 2008 plans. Galdeano confirmed that Samu is likely to do the Tour next year, and he also mentioned the riders in the frame for a spot on the Tour team. It looks to be the same team as last year, with Mikel, Haimar, Rubén, Amets, Iñigo, Igor, Gorka, Aitor and Jorge all on the short-list. The team will likely do the Giro as well, suddenly, as Markel and Dioni were definite starters for the Italian Grand Tour according to Igor. Euskaltel will, reluctantly, start the season in January in the Tour Down Under, and might also head to the States for the Tour of California in February as the team have received an invitation. Nothing has been decided, but it's an option. Obviously there'll be many changes come the new season, but one thing stays the same; the biggest goals. As always, the Vuelta al País Vasco and the other Basque races, together with the Tour and the Vuelta, will be the main objectives says Igor.

Samu to do Tour

Samu will, according to several sources, probably do the Tour instead of the Vuelta next year. Samu, who's been brilliant in the Vuelta the last few years, has his eyes firmly set on the Beijing Olymipcs in the summer of 2008. The course is tailor-made for him and, as the Tour ends just 10 days prior to it, he figured "why not do the Tour as well?". Samu did the Tour in 2002 and 2003 I think, but hasn't participated ever since. It would be a big boost to the whole squad if Samu was to take part, as he'll no doubt leave his mark on the race.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"What's happened to Iban is bad for everybody"

Fundacion Euskadi head Miguel Madariaga commented on Iban's on-going doping-case in today's Diario Vasco. Even though he doesn't really say that much, it's clear he has sympathy for Iban and that there's no bad feelings concerning Iban's departure from the team. "No matter what some people might have said; I'm not happy with what has happened to Iban. It's bad for everybody. For cycling in general it's bad, though I think it's worst for Iban himself. It must be terrible not being able to do anything. A person like me, with cycling in the blood, cannot be happy with this situation. Mayo left Euskaltel and initiated a new stage in his career elsewhere. When he left, we wished him the best of luck".

Egoi: "The team has changed"

In today's El Correo there is an interview with the returning Egoi Martínez. The 29-year-old will be one of Euskaltel's main hopes for success come the new season, and was looking forward to assuming leadership responsabilities. He mainly talks of his stay with Discovery, put also had something to say about his new team. Read on: "It's been the hardest winter ever. As I'll be one of the captains I've had to put down a lot of work. I hope to return to the level I displayed in 2006. Here, like with Discovery, I'll have freedom in some races, but sometimes I'll work for the others as well. After all, there are many good riders in this team. The team has changed a lot; you can easily see that from outside as well. We talked about how the team has changed in Discovery. I've always got along well with Miguel Madariaga, and I like Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano's vision of the sport. He'a an intelligent director."

Lissavetzky: "I won't argue with the UCI"

Spanish Secretary for Sport, the controversial Jaime Lissavetzky, has said he's reluctant to fight with the UCI in the "Mayo case". "A balance between the fight against doping and the respect for the rights of cyclists needs to be found", he started, but then, disappointingly, went on to say "I don't want to enter into polemics with the UCI. When I heard that the B sample was not 'positive', I said that the rules had to be fulfilled, that is, Iban Mayo was cleared of doping. But then we come into some formal legal aspects used by the UCI as a reason for claiming a new analysis of the B sample, so I don't want to argue with the UCI". Well, this is disappointing, as I had hoped Lissevatzky knew the rules for these kind of cases. But then again, who can blame him? Has there ever been a case like this before?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poll results: When is Iban's test coming back (again)?

Iban's test is probably coming back in December, and the majority got it right this time round. 30 % voted for "December", while 23 % voted for the originally-unserious-but-maybe-not-so-unlikely-after-all option of "Before London 2012". Interestingly, "Never of course" accumulated 14 %, clearly showing what many cycling fans think of the UCI these days.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What's the rules?

The RFEC (the National Spanish Cycling Federation) has stated that they've shelved Iban's case, and that an eventual positive third B-sample test would do nothing to change their verdict. To them, Iban's cleared and free to race. But is that all? Haven't the UCI got anything to say if it comes back positive? Or is it enough that the RFEC clears him? I'm not sure, so I'm asking you, my readers, for some help here. What's the rules for these kind of cases? Is the RFEC's verdict all that counts in the end?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Iban protest third test

Iban and his team of representatives and lawyers are not happy with the UCI's decision to perform a third B-sample test. Iban finds it ridiculous, and rightly so, that the third test will be carried out in the only lab that's come up with a positive result so far: " They will get the result they want there (in Chanenay-Malabry)," he said frustrated. "In Paris they'll be able to analyse it time and time again until they get the result they want. They'll do it 15 times over if that's what it takes". Iban's representatives have asked the UCI to explain how on earth this is legal, but has of course not received an answer as of yet. Iban has therefore said that neither he nor one of his representatives will be present in Paris for the testing. The Spanish papers are all on Iban's side in this fight, with many highly-regarded newspapers calling the UCI criminals and claiming Iban is being prosecuted and the subject of a witch-hunt. I couldn't agree more. Luckily his national cycling federation share our opinions, as a spokesman for the RFEC said that "we won't change our decision no matter the result of the third test. We cannot judge the same thing twice. We've shelved the case".

10 days...

The testing of Iban's B-sample will be carried out between the 4th of December and the 6th of December. The first week in December is the new date; assuming Iban or one of his representatives are present in Paris.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Test put on hold

The third testing of Iban's B-sample has, incredibly, been put on hold. The UCI decided to postpone the testing as they, suddenly, wanted Iban or a representative of him to be present. This totally contradicts all they've said earlier about the sample being tested no matter what, but I guess that's the way the UCI go about things. "The analysis of the B was scheduled to occur in Paris yesterday (Wednesday), but it was postponed to make absolutely sure that Mr. Mayo had the opportunity to attend or elect a representative to attend the opening and analysis on his behalf," she said. "I can't confirm the new date publicly until Mr. Mayo, RFEC [the Spanish Cycling Federation] etc. have acknowledged receipt of the information." Well, first of all Gripper, you've got to send a notification to them. It's kind of hard to "acknowledge a receipt of the information" if they don't have any information. Further she said: "The analysis of the B sample was conducted by the Gent lab. It was inconclusive. They sent the results to the Sydney lab for a second opinion. The sample itself was not sent to Sydney. Sydney confirmed the inconclusive result and suggested that the remainder of the B sample be analysed in the Paris lab to obtain a conclusive result". Well to most this might seem logical. But it's not. If a test is inconclusive, it's classified "negative", as EPO use would have given a clear and straightforward "positive". Anyway, I've said this all before, so I think I'm just going to leave it at that...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Euskaltel to hold training-camp

Euskaltel will stage a training-camp for all 26 riders in Derio running from Monday to Thursday next week. The team will mainly train together and plan what races to do and what races not do for each individual rider in 2008. Medical examinations and meetings with the press will also take place. The last couple of years Euskaltel have held a training-camp in Alicante in January but, due to the inclusion of the Tour Down Under on the Pro Tour calendar, this won't happen in 2008.

Uribarri gets second chance

Out-of-contract Euskaltel rider Unai Uribarri was yesterday surprisingly signed by the team's feeder team, Orbea Oreka. The 23-year-old has spent two rather unsuccessful seasons with Euskaltel, but was gladly given a new chance of making it in the cycling world. With two years in the Pro Tour on his back, Unai will provide much-needed experience to an otherwise very young 2008 roster. The talent is there, it's just about getting it out. Aupa Unai!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Iban: "I expected this"

In a small conversation with Basque network station ETB today, Iban said that the actions taken by the UCI don't surprise him at all. "I knew they weren't going to stop; I haven't even received a notification of this new counter-analysis", Iban said. "It's quite rare to break it's own laws (the UCI). What are they going to do now? They're going to do 15 tests until they get the result they want. The UCI can't do another counter-analysis when the national federation has shelved the case. But even though the law is on my side, I'm not calm". José Rodriguez, his lawyer, once again reiterated to ETB that the testing is illegal and will be made without the permission of the rider.

Iban with the law on his side

Neither Iban not anyone on his behalf will be present when the fourth testing of his B-sample will start today in the disgraced Paris lab Chatenay-Malabry. Iban has not received any notification from the UCI that it'll be tested once again. Nor has Saunier Duval or his lawyer. That's a serious violation of UCI's own testing procedures, as a representative of the rider has to be present when the testing takes place. The UCI would loose an eventual case in court on that alone. "Of course we're not going to be present (in Paris)", Iban told DEIA, "if we did that we would agree in their way of doing things". On question of what action he would take if it were to return positive, Iban said: "We'll go to CAS. José Rodriguez (his lawyer) has told me we've got somewhere between 90 and 100 % chance of winning the case, as the UCI are breaking their own rules". The Spanish Cycling Federation decleared war on the UCI if the test were to return a positive result. Eugenio Bermúdez, secretary of the federation, told DEIA: "We've got nothing to say at this moment. But if it comes back positive, then the real legal battle would begin". Iban's lawyer further had this to say: "I hope they won't do what they say they are going to. They would break their own rules. If they did that (again, I have to add), they'll loose all credibility". 'Nuff said.

Amets gets 61 kilos of cheese

No, you didn't misread it. Amets will today, at 19:00 in Ordizia, receive his weight in cheese. The young climber, who caught everyone's attention in the Tour this year, will be awarded the cheese by bullfighting club El Albero as a recognition for his heroics on the bike this year. Amets will be accompanied by sports director Jon Odriozola. I'd love to know exactly how the handing-over of the cheese is going to happen. I'm also at a loss to figure out what he's going to do with it, something I'm sure he is too, but he'll no doubt appreciate the recognition anyway.

Testing to take 5-6 days

The result of Iban's B-sample will be known in approximately five to six days, claim Spanish newspapers today. How on earth that's possible, when it took three months the first time, I don't know, but the sooner the better. Though, as one reader pointed out earlier today; if it's negative, it'll probably take 3 months.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Iban's B-sample to be tested tomorrow

Iban's B-sample will be tested again in Paris tomorrow. Anne Gripper, the UCI's anti-doping coordinator, said nothing as to when the result will be made known, as usual, she only said another analysis was "necessary" for one reason or another. How they UCI can do this, without taking the case to CAS is beyond me, but I guess the UCI don't really care about rules. They don't tend to anyway.

Euskaltel refuse offers for Samu

Euskaltel have in the last few weeks received two offers for the services of captain Samu Sánchez, and have of course said "no thanks" to both. The offers, both in the region of 450 000 Euro, came from "two Pro Tour teams" according to Madariaga, but all he had to say to the team was "Samu is not for sale". The Asturian is contracted 'till the end of 2008, and Samu has repeatedly said that he'll fulfill his contract. Though, if he'll stay beyond that is at the moment unclear. Euskaltel are trying to keep him until 2010, but so far talks have gone nowhere. "The conversations (with Samu) have not resulted in anything yet", Madariaga commented to DEIA. "We're far from agreing on a prolongation of his contract at the moment".

Monday, November 19, 2007

No teams for former Euskaltel riders yet

Andoni Aranaga, Iban Iriondo, Unai Uribarri, Joseba Zubeldia, Iban Mayoz and Aketza Peña are still left without a team for next year after not getting their contracts extended with the team. Of course, Aketza tested positive earlier this year, so, even though his B-sample has gone missing, he's without a job for 2008 as of yet. And I'm afraid the 5 others may not find a team in an increasingly difficult job-market, with several teams folding leaving riders jobless. There are still some places left at Spanish Pro Conti and Pro teams, but aside from that I can't see many teams taking them on. Even though they're all talented riders, and some of them have impressive results on their CV, I'm afraid retirement is looming for some of them. That would be a shame, as they all deserve another chance. Perhaps heading to Portugal might be an option for some of them, as there is still place for a rider or two on their Pro teams.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A farewell to Unai Etxebarria

34-year-old Euskaltel legend Unai Etxebarria decided to put an end to his ten-year long tenure with Euskaltel this year and hang up his bike for good. Here's a tribute to the admirable Venezuelean:

Unai is a true Euskaltel legend. He's been one of the household names since he joined way back in 1997, and has given Euskaltel 9 wins along the way. Unai was always, together with the likes of Iban, Haimar, Samu, Igor, Roberto Laiseka, you name them, one you hoped would figure on the start-list for the upcoming race. Because, as with the aforementioned, Unai had that capability to win races on all terrain. The flat, long stages were suddenly not that boring for us Euskaltel fans when Unai was in the team, as he was one of the few riders who could jump clear some kilometres from the line and actually stay clear. He was also a good rider to have in a break, which his palmares shows. Many of his wins have come from breaks, something his wins in stages of the Vuelta, in the Dauphiné and in the Klasika Primavera, just to name a few, are testaments to. Though, he's also recorded remarkable results in the hilly spring Classics. A second and a fourth in Fleche Wallonne, in 2002 and 2003 respectively, showcased his abilities on the short, steep climbs in the north, making him a valuable addition every year to Euskaltel's Classics team. What really made Unai stand out from the rest though, was the fact that he was a Venezuelean. What, a Venezuelean in an all-Basque formation? It sounds odd, I know, but just from his name you can hear he's got Basque blod in his vains. We didn't get to see Unai that much in his national coulours at the Worlds, but he performed really well this year in Stuttgart. He came in with the rememnants of the peloton just half-a-minute down or so on Bettini, and became in the process the first ever Venezuelean to finish a World Road Race Championship. He seemed to be in good form all year long in the 2007 campaign, taking Euskaltel's first win of the season in the Trofeo Calvia in January, and finishing on such a strong note at the Worlds. I'm sad to see him leave. The name "Etxebarria" was always synonymous with Euskaltel, and his team-mates will surely miss both the rider and the human Unai Etxebarria. So will I.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Euskaltel set for Tour and Vuelta; Giro unsecure

According to news reports in October, Euskaltel are virtually assured of taking part in the Tour and the Vuelta next year. As the much-criticiced Pro Tour concept will be revamped for 2008, due to the Tour's, the Giro's and the Vuelta's backers refusing to abide by the UCI's rules, ASO, Unipublic and RCS, the organisers of the three Grand Tours, will have the possibility to pick any team they want, theoretically, to take part. This means that no team is assured of a starting berth next year, but Euskaltel have, according to rumours anyway, received an oral invitation to all three races. Euskaltel will no doubt ride the Tour and the Vuelta, of course, but it's not unlikely that Euskaltel will give the Giro a miss. Euskaltel have never fielded any of their big stars in Italy in hope of getting any results, most of the time just to get fit. I think that, given an invitation, they should take part. Getting through a three-week race would be invaluable experience to any rider, not least Euskaltel's young and untested riders. After having come through a three-week race you know what pro cycling at the highest level is all about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

2008 Tour route suits Iban

After the 2008 Tour de France parcours had been unveiled, one thing went through my mind; this route is one for Iban. With no prologue, no TTT and the first of two individual time trials no more than 30 kilometres in length, coupled with some heavy mountain-stages in the last week, it should suit Iban oh so well. And of course, the inclusion of the Alpe d'Huez on stage 17 bring back many good memories for us Iban fans. A repeat of that beautiful day back in 2003 would top it all, and I'm sure Iban is already looking forward to it. Though, stage 10 to Hautacam will probably also be one of Iban's best chances for glory come next July. Of course, it remains to be seen if he will even ride it, but if he do, the rest should watch out...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Haimar celebrated as best Basque Tour rider 2007

Haimar will on the 23rd of November, for the fourth time in his career, receive the prize as the best Basque Tour de France rider of 2007 from the Urka-Mendi de Zizurkil cycling society. In winning his fourth award, Haimar surpasses Basque greats Joseba Beloki and Abraham Olano who've both won it three times. Only legends Marino Lejarreta and Miguel Indurain are ahead of him on the list of winners, having won it five times each.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What's up, UCI?

The UCI obviously loves silence. Since the news that the UCI wouldn't let a negative be a negative and get on with their lives broke, we've heard nothing from the UCI as to when a decision will be taken. Anne Gripper, the persona non grata at my blog, said it would take four to six weeks, so, yeah, I guess we're in for another three months of waiting. Though, the interesting part is: What is the UCI doing right now? They're not allowed to test it, as they have to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport first. But is the case in CAS' hands? Doubt it, I guess we would have heard something then. CAS have to approve that the UCI can test it once again before they can take it back to Paris. If anyone has got a clue to what's going on right now, please leave a comment. I've no idea, but my best bet is that nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening. After all, the UCI know how to play the waiting-game...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Poll results: What's worst?

And the winner is.... both. Well, as I had hoped, and expected, the UCI and the Chatenay-Malabry shared this prestigious prize of who's worst in pro cycling these days. The option "Both, really" accumulated no less than 51 % of the votes this time round, while the UCI beat Chatenay-Malabry to second place by 6 %. About time to call it quits McQuaid?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Evaluation of the neo-pros

Lander Aperribay: The 25-year-old from San Sebastián got his first pro contract with Euskaltel this season. Lander did what was expected of him; riding in support of his team-leaders and sacrificing his own ambitions for the team's greater good. Though, he'll have to pick up some impressive results i 2008 if his contract is to be extended. The first year as a pro is always going to be tough, as it turned out to be for Lander. He didn't record any noteworthy results, but he's said to be a talented guy this rider, so I'm confident that'll change next year.

Andoni Lafuente: Same as with Lander really. Struggled, as nearly all neo-pros do, to adapt to the pace of the Pro Tour in his first year. Though, this one is only 22, so he's still got some time left to impress. As with Lander, he'll come to the end of his two-year contract come next year, so he'll need to impress his bosses next campaign if it's to be extended. The rider from Gernika showed that the talent is there in the youth categories prior to joining Euskaltel, so I'll look out for his results next year.

Iban's season in pics

Posing for the cameras after signing with Saunier

Trying out new gear

In his first outing for Saunier; the Paris-Nice prologue

Riding in the Vuelta al País Vasco

Early on in his first ever Giro

Winning stage 19 of the Giro

Iban one of four happy Saunier Giro stage-winners

Iban and Cobo chilling out prior to a Tour alpine stage

Grabbing 2nd on the Tour's first mountain-stage

In the Albi Tour time trial

Then it all went downhill...

Happy days as Iban's B-sample comes back negative

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Euskaltel round-up evaluation 2007

  • Best performance(s): Vuelta a España, Tour de France and Clásica San Sebastián
  • Worst performance: Giro d'Italia
  • Best stage-performance: Stage 15 of the Vuelta a España
  • Most disappointing performance: Vuelta al País Vasco
  • Most surprising performance: 11th in the UCI team rankings
  • Most unlucky performance: Tour de France
  • Most improved area: team-work and team-spirit
  • Least improved area: time trialling and cobbles
  • Season highlight: Amets Txurruka's "Most aggressive rider"-prize in the Tour de France
  • Season let-down: Aketza Peña's positive A-sample
  • Overall ranking (from 1 to 10): 6
  • Better than last year?: yes indeed
  • Best question: When is Aketza Peña's B-sample coming back?
  • Best answer: Dont' ask the UCI

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Euskaltel awards 2007

  • Best rider: Samuel Sánchez
  • Best climber: Samuel Sánchez
  • Best sprinter: Koldo Fernández
  • Best time triallist: Mikel Astarloza
  • Best stage-racer: Samuel Sánchez
  • Best Classics rider: Samuel Sánchez
  • Best all-rounder: Samuel Sánchez
  • Best new-comer: Mikel Astarloza
  • Best domestique(s): Rubén Pérez and Iñaki Isasi
  • Best young prospect: Igor Antón
  • Best stage-race prospect: Igor Antón
  • Best lead-out man: Beñat Albizuri
  • Best breakaway rider: Iñigo Landaluze
  • Best neo-pro: Lander Aperribay
  • Best signing: Amets Txurruka
  • Best tactician: Haimar Zubeldia
  • Most consistent rider: Mikel Astarloza
  • Most inconsistent rider(s): Aitor Hernández and Antton Luengo
  • Most improved rider(s): Markel Irizar and Alán Pérez
  • Most unlucky rider: Iñigo Landaluze
  • Most underrated rider(s): Dioni Galparsoro and Gorka Verdugo
  • Most talented rider: Haimar Zubeldia
  • Most aggressive rider: Rubén Pérez
  • Most injury-prone rider: Iñaki Isasi
  • Most popular rider: Samuel Sánchez
  • My favourite rider: Antton Luengo

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pic of the year

Yeah, you're right, when I start posting articles, if I can call it that, like these, I ain't got much to write about. No news on Iban or Euskaltel, so this is the best I can come up with. But back to the headline; "Pic of the year". It's an amazing photograph, isn't it? I just love it; it's real happiness we're seeing on Iban and his fanclub leader's face. It's of course taken right after the news of Iban's false positive broke. As we all know, the joy didn't last long, as the UCI made, and are still making, fools out of themselves by not accepting the counter-analysis. But no matter what happened in the aftermath of the pic, it's still an amazing picture. Let's hope we can see that smile back on Iban's face shortly...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Iban claims innocense

Iban gave the following statement to Basque region Gipuzkoa's daily newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa a couple of days ago: "I've still got a year left on my contract and I was decleared innocent. I've spoken with Matxin (the Saunier Duval head), and he says he's counting on me for next season". By the way, is that Joseba Albizu, Euskaltel rider up until 2007, alongside Iban?

The boring off-season has started...

We've come to the end of another uneventful weekend for Euskaltel and Iban. Nothing's happening with the team these days, and I'm afraid it's going to stay that way for some time now, as the roster for next year is completed. It's going to be a quiet off-season, but they'll be back racing in less than two months down in Australia, so the 2008 season isn't really that far away luckily... An end to Iban's case is still a long way off as well, so I've got no news for you. I doubt there'll be any news on the case tomorrow either, but, hey, it's Monday tomorrow, so I guess there's always hope, right?

Friday, November 02, 2007


I'll not be able to update the blog until Sunday evening I'm afraid. I'm going to Oslo you see, but I guess I won't miss a whole lot as nothing seems to be happening these days anyway. See you then!

Saunier need Iban as big-names leave

As seems likely, yet undecided at the time of writing, is that Iban will be riding for Saunier Duval come next season. If that's indeed the case, Iban will have even more of a team-leader role it seems. Big-name riders like Koldo Gil, David Millar, Fran Ventoso and Gilberto Simoni have all opted for pastures new, so they won't be around next year. That means Iban will likely lead the team in the Tour, perhaps together with Marchante, if the CAS rule in Iban's favour. Saunier Duval recently revealed their 26-man strong line-up for 2008. Iban does not figure, but "the decision on Iban Mayo's case has not been made yet" it says on their homepage. Though, I find it likely that he'll be cleared and will be riding for the team and, given the team's low average age and lack of big names, they sorely need him.

Markel doing 'cross as well

Markel took part in the Osintxuko Ziklokrossa - Soraluce E. Koop Sari Nagusia cyclo-cross race in Bergara, a small town in the Basque Country, today. Markel grabbed a 23rd spot, one lap down. I've never heard of the race before, so I don't know if a 23rd is good or bad really, but the most important thing is that he's keeping in shape. Aupa Markel!


web site counter
ISP Internet Providers