Orange bliss

Regular readers will know that I have a particular fondness for the Basque squad of Euskaltel-Euskadi. While I’m not exactly sure why that is, I can proffer a number of possible reasons:-

  1. It’s home to my favourite Spanish rider Samu Sanchez
  2. I like the idea that the team supports cycling from grass-roots to elite, but only for Basques, or those, like Samu, raised in a Basque squad
  3. To a man, they all weigh less than me. In fact, when I met the squad during the third week of  Tour de France 2008 they resembled a bunch of little brown twigs 
  4. Most of them have names which challenge the powers of pronunciation of all cycling commentators alike (except those that speak Basque)
  5. They’ve all been tangoed
  6. They don’t travel well. Have  the  Basques ever won a race on the cobbles? No, I don’t think so
  7. They have the most ardent supporters
  8. They could do with some good luck, particularly Igor Anton who has crashed out of the Vuelta this year, and also in 2008, with broken bones 
  9. They have one of the smallest budgets in the Pro-Tour peloton
  10. Basques never do quite as well on other squads as they do on their own
  11. The most promising young French rider, Romain Sicard, rides for them
  12. The Basque country is a culinary blessed area
  13. My very first road bike was an Orbea

Let’s hope 13 isn’t an unlucky number in the Basque country

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