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Giro d'Italia 2006 - Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Ballears
By Anita van Crey
Date: 5/8/2006
Giro d'Italia 2006 - Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Ballears
Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears for the Giro d’Italia

Eusebio Unzue will lead the Team Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears in the Giro d’ Italia, which starts on Saturday May, the 6th. The team has confirmed its line-up: José Luis Carrasco, Vladimir Efimkin, Imanol Erviti, Marco Fertonani, Iván Gutierrez, Joan Horrach, José Cayetano Julia, Fran Perez and Mikel Pradera.

Seraing time trail: fort goal in the Giro for Eusebio Unzue' team.
Which are the plans you have for your team in the 89th edition of the Giro d’Italia?
“First of all it is important to tell you that we will start with a team that has not a large experience in that kind of race because some of the riders will take part for the first time in a big tour. I am here speaking about Efimkin, Fertonani and Erviti, but also of the some other riders who just take part in one important stage race before. That’s why I say that the team is quite inexperienced, with no leader for doing well in the overall ranking. But on the other side I am sure my guys will be able to go in the breakaways and go for a stage win. I am convinced about that. But first of all we will try to win the short time trial in Seraing with Iván Gutierrez and, doing so go for the first pink jersey of this Giro too.”
Can Iván win that time trial?
“We surely have to consider that possibility. Don’t forget that in 2004, in Liège, very close to Seraing, Iván Gutierrez finished the third of the prologue in the Tour de France, more or less on the same distance. Of course there is a difference because the course was all flat then while there will be a short but hard climb next Saturday. But I believe he is in top condition right now. He also knows this is his big opportunity and for us it will be so great to get the first pink jersey of the current edition of the Giro.”

You just said your team will go for stage wins. Is there really no possibility for you to do well in the overall ranking?
“Some riders still have to improve in that kind of race and I am sure they will do it. Let’s take the example of Fran Perez and Efimkin. I am sure they will be able to do very well in the future but because of their lack of experience it is not possible to know right now how they will manage with the race this year. Both of them have the qualities such a race requests and some day they will do well in the general classification but as for now, before the Giro starts, it is not a main objective. But you never know what can happen in a race so that we will wait and see what happen during the first race days and then may we will have to change or plans. What is sure is that we will try to win one stage at least.”
After Alejandro Valverde’s wins in the Classics of the Ardennes, do you see Liège with another glance?
“What is very particular for us, most than any other thing, is that after passing 27 years working in professional cycling, with Reynolds in a first time and after that with Banesto till now with Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears, we tried this so hard to win those Classics ! To win the Flèche Wallonne was already something very beautiful but the success in Liège-Bastogne-Liège is really so special for us! The first part of our season has been incredible, with regard to the quality of the races we won but also for the number of win (17). It is so important to note that 9 different riders won all those races.”

Team Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears: 2 riders finish the first stage of the Giro d’Italia in the top 7. Stage win for Paolo Savoldelli.

The Giro d’Italia started with an individual time trial of 6, 2 km that took place in the Belgian locality of Seraing, very close to Liège where the three next stages will take place too. The Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears riders did very well today thanks to Fran Pérez’s sixth place and Iván Gutiérrez’s seven one.

Iván Gutiérrez was one of the favourite before the race starts to wear the first pink jersey, but he is not really disappointed for the fact he was not able to achieve his aim: “ I was feeling very well but I knew Savoldelli was very strong, most of all after he won the prologue in the Tour of Romandy. Maybe I could do a little better in the climb but anyway Savoldelli did so well today that it was just impossible to beat him. Many riders could be on the podium today but only one could go for the win.” Fran Pérez’s performance is really a nice surprise for the team while Vladimir Efimkin crashed in the last curve and finished 1’15” later than the winner.

Stage 1 Seraing-Seraing (individual time trial - 6,2 km): 1. Paolo Savoldelli (DSC); 2. Bradley McGee (FDJ) a 11”, 3. José Gutiérrez a 13”, 4. Stefan Schumacher a 13”, 5. Serhiy Honchar a 15”, 6. Fran Pérez a 16”, 7. Iván Gutiérrez a 16”, 21. Joan Horrach a 29”, 34. Imanol Erviti a 36”, 88. José Luis Carrasco a 52”, 119. José Cayetano Julia a 1’, 143. Marco Fertonani a 1’06”, 151. Mikel Pradera a 1’09”, 169. Vladimir Efimkin a 1’15”.

Team Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears in the Giro d’Italia

Robbie mc Ewen wins the second stage in the Giro d’Italia under the Belgian rain

Robbie McEwen won the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, mostly raced under the Belgian rain, between Mons and Marcinelle (200 kilometres). In the sprint he was faster than Pollack, Bettini, Petacchi and Duque. All the Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears riders finished the stage in the main bunch. Paolo Savoldelli keeps leading the overall ranking.

Stage 2 Mons-Marcinelle (202 km): 1. Robbie McEwen (DVL); 2. Olaf Pollack (TMO) m.t.; 3. Paolo Bettini m.t.; 4. Alessandro Petacchi m.t.; 5. Leonardo Duque m.t.; 22. Iván Gutiérrez m.t.; 44 José Cayetano Julia m.t.; 51. José Luis Carrasco m.t.; 69. Vladimir Efimkin m.t.; 71. Fran Pérez m.t; 79. Joan Horrach m.t.; 100. Mikel Pradera m.t.; 102 Imanol Erviti m.t.; 114. Marco Fertonani m.t. General Classification: 1. Paolo Savoldelli (DSC); 2. Bradley McGee a 11”; 3. José Gutiérrez a 13”; 4. Stefan Schumacher a 13”; 5. Serhiy Honchar a 15”; 6. Fran Pérez a 16”; 7. Iván Gutierrez a 16”; 22. Joan Horrach a 29”; 35. Imanol Erviti a 36”; 85. José Luis Carrasco a 52”; 111. José Cayetano Julia a 1’; 127. Marco Fertonani a 1’06”; 135. Mikel Pradera a 1’09”; 152. Vladimir Efimkin a 1’15”.

Team Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears wins in France

Thanks to Isaac Galvez’s victory in the fourth and last stage of the 4 Days of Dunkerque, the Team Epargne-Illes Balears won today its 18th success of the current season.

Fran Pérez will try to win a stage

Thanks to his performance in the time trial that took place on Saturday, Fran Pérez is the first good surprise for the team because it is evidence that his condition is excellent to begin in the Giro. He is very enthusiast when he speaks about the Italian race.

Your brilliant performance in the time trial agreeably surprised many people. Before he start, where you convinced that you could do so well?
“To tell you the truth, when we went to recognize the course I immediately understood that I had a good chance to do well, but to think that I would be able to realize such a time, similar to the one Ivan Gutiérrez and some other specialists realized, there was a margin! Anyway I am entirely satisfied with my performance.”

Did you make a special preparation for that time trial?
“Not for the time trial in particular, but I did it for the whole Giro. It is one of the most important aims of my season!”
Which are your ambitions?
“We shall have to wait until the race really starts before being able to decide what to do and we specially will have to wait the first mountain stage in order to see how everybody’s form looks like.”
Will you concentrate on the stage wins or is the overall ranking also an aim in itself?

“I will for sure give it all to try to win a stage. With regard to the general classification, I think that the last ten days will be so difficult that to stay in the foreground will be far from being easy. But you never know, perhaps I will be in the first part over the ranking then and look for some new objective!”
A Giro d’ Italia starting with 4 stages on the Belgian territory is that a Giro that has nothing to do with lets’ call it a normal one?
“To be in Belgium with a public and an environment very different from the one I guess we will find in Italy is very strange and it is not easy to really concentrate on the race. It is difficult to imagine that one started for a three weeks long race. I personally think it is a good thing because the race will not seem so long as it usually does! Moreover the race presents an atypical configuration starting with four more or less flat stages, then immediately the first rest day and then the team time trial. After that we will go on with some more stages that are not really difficult before reaching the second rest day. But after that what a long week will be waiting for us. It is expected to be a terrible one and I am sure it will be! Anyway I think that this Giro will give us the impression that it is shorter than a normal traditional long stage race.”

Ivan Gutiérrez finishes the eighth of the stage (3) and is now fourth in the overall ranking

Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia was raced under a real deluge. A long break (165 kilometres) animated the longest part of the stage. The breakers were Markel Irizar, Moises Aldape, Raffaele Illiano and Amael Moinard but it was not possible for them to keep a sufficient gap to go for the stage win as they were caught at 19 km from the finish. In the final climb that went to the top of the citadel of Namur, Chechu Rubiera attacked at 2 km from the finish but he was not able to resist to Stefan Schumacher’s return that won the stage in front of the Belgian public. The German rider is also the new leader of the general classification.
Many crashes happened during the stage because of the slippery roads, but fortunately no rider of the Team Caisse d’Epargne – Illes Balears was a victim. Thanks to his 8th place in the stage, Iván Gutiérrez is now the 4th of the overall ranking at 29’’from the pink jersey.

Stage 3 Perwez-Namur (205 km): 1. Stefan Schumacher (GST); 2. José Luis Rubiera at 2” (DSC) ; 3. Davide Rebellin at 6”.; 4. Paolo Bettini at 6”.; 5. Philippe Gilbert at 6”; 8. Iván Gutiérrez at 6”; 11. Fran Pérez at 9”; 26. Vladimir Efimkin at 13”; 27 Imanol Erviti at 13”; 45. Mikel Pradera at 13’’; 56. Joan Horrach at 13’’; 81. José Luis Carrasco at 46’’; 111. Marco Fertonani at 55’’; 121. José Cayetano Julia at 55’’.

General Classification: 1. Stefan Schumacher (GST); 2. Paolo Savoldelli (DSC) at 13’’; 3. Davide Rebellin (GST) at 23”; 4. Iván Gutiérrez at 23’’; 5. José Luis Rubiera at 31”; 8. Fran Pérez at 32”; 20. Joan Horrach at 49”; 28. Imanol Erviti at 56”; 62. Mikel Pradera at 1’29’’; 72. Vladimir Efimkin at 1’35’’; 90. José Luis Carrasco at 1’45’’; 110. José Cayetano Julia at 2’02’’; 120. Marco Fertonani at 2’08’’.

Credits: Pascale Schyns

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