Posted by Editor on 04/5/07
Barry at Vuelta al Pais Vasco
T-Mobile is sending a vastly experienced team of stage race specialists to the 47th Vuelta al Pais Vasco on Monday, running from April 9-14.
Tour stars Patrik Sinkewitz and Michael Rogers lead the eight-strong roster in the Basque Country. Sinkewitz placed fourth overall here last year after an excellent final day time trial performance saw him charge up the leader board.
"It's a selective parcours that suits Patrik," says team sporting director Valerio Piva, though he is keen to play down the 26-year-old's chances in the face of the strong local competition: "The Spanish teams will be really up for this one. They're always hard to beat on their home turf."
Michael Rogers is the team's other GC rider - the Australian arrives in northern Spain fresh off finishing fourth overall at the Coppi e Bartali stage race in Italy.
"Michael performed extremely well last week in atrocious weather conditions, even digging in to lead-out his team mates in the sprint stages," says Piva.
Supporting the two leaders in the Basque Country are Michael Barry (Canada), Giuseppe Guerini (Italy), Serhiy Honchar (Ukraine), Adam Hansen (Australia), Axel Merckx (Belgium) and Jakob Piil (Denmark).
With thirty five categorised climbs along the 863km race route, the six-day race is a real climbers' delight. And the race gets straight down to business - stage one is a selective 139 km trek around Urretxu with nine climbs to tackle, as well as a summit finish. "There's absolutely no time for the riders to roll along and ease their way into the race," says Piva.
The second stage, with 191 kilometres and eight climbs, is also very challenging. Even the 14km final time trial will test the riders' climbing skills. For Piva, one thing is certain: "Whoever stands on the top step of the podium at the end will be in top shape."
Michael Barry (31/Canada)
Giuseppe Guerini (37/Italy)
Serhiy Honchar (36/Ukraine)
Adam Hansen (25/Australia)
Axel Merckx (35/Belgium)
Jakob Piil (34/Denmark)
Michael Rogers (27/Australia)
Patrik Sinkewitz (26)
Sporting director: Valerio Piva (48/Italy)
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