Spanish team manager Paco Antequera has responded to criticism of his decision not to select Vuelta
PICTURE BY LAVUELTA.COM Spanish national team selector Paco Antequera has revealed his last three picks for Spain’s world championship squad, and explained why Vuelta leader Roberto Heras’ name does not feature at all. The three latest riders added to the squad are Quick Step’s Pedro Horrillo and Vuelta stage winners Eladio Jimenez (CV-Kelme) and Santi Perez (Phonak). Antequera said he had spoken to Heras at the Vuelta on Tuesday. “He understood that if he was to go to the Worlds it would be to work for someone else and he was ready to do that,” said Antequera. “But he was worried that the efforts he has made at the Vuelta would affect him late in the race in Verona, which is when we would have called on him, and so we have decided to take another rider.” That rider is Perez, who has had a less taxing season than Heras and appears to be in better form coming to the conclusion of the Vuelta. “He’ll go well on a circuit like Verona,” said Antequera, who also explained that Horrillo and Jimenez had been selected because of their past experience at the Worlds and to work early on in the race. Spain will have 13 riders in their road race team at the Worlds thanks to the presence of defending champion Igor Astarloa. Their other protected riders should be former champion Oscar Freire and last year’s runner-up Alejandro Valverde. * The Spanish daily AS has been told off the record by a team manager at the Vuelta that as many as six riders have failed drug tests at the race, including one of the event’s main protagonists. Any announcements of positive tests will have to wait until the UCI has checked medical certificates that allow some riders to use certain medical products.