No Olympic place for Aitor
A battle of three Gonzalez’s and one Zubeldia for Spain’s final Olympic place has gone the way of Ig
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Aitor Gonzalez may have returned himself to public consciousness with his victory in Nimes on Sunday, but unfortunately for the Fassa Bortolo rider that success came too late to get him into the Spanish team for the Olympics next month. Just as Gonzalez was telling his home media that he would like to have the chance to compete in Athens, Spanish selector Paco Antequera was announcing that the final spot on the team would be taken by Liberty Seguros’ Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. Antequera told AS: “Aitor took his stage win well, but that does not mean that he will be good at the Olympics. If they were starting right after the Tour then I might have considered selecting him, but because they start 20 days after the Tour I’ve got more confidence in Igor Galdeano.” Aitor Gonzalez’s reputation for not applying himself as much as he could when it comes to preparation has clearly played a role in Antequera’s decision, although the fact Igor was one of the breakaway riders outwitted by Aitor in Sunday’s stage does undermine Antequera’s decision slightly. Just to add to the confusion, another Gonzalez, Phonak’s Santos, felt he was the rider most deserving of the final spot on the Spanish team. Before Igor and Aitor retrieved 14 minutes on most of the field by getting into Sunday’s winning break, the Phonak rider was the best placed of the four Spanish riders in contention for the fifth spot on the team. Haimar Zubeldia was the fourth rider and was discounted from Antequera’s plans when he abandoned the Tour. The other four slots have already been filled by Oscar Freire, Alejandro Valverde, Ivan Gutierrez and Igor Astarloa. All five riders now selected will compete in the road race, while Gutierrez and Gonzalez de Galdeano will double up in the time trial.