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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Euskaltel-Euskadi
TEAM PROFILE
Unai Etxebarria leads the peloton during stage 10 of last year's Tour
Country: Spain's Basque territory
Manager: Miguel Madariaga
Team leaders: Davide Etxebarria, Iban Mayo
Best Tour: 2001, 12th place by Inigo Chaurreau
The all-Basque team were made to wait for their place on this year's Tour before finally being given the go ahead as one of the final wildcard entries.

They have plenty to prove in their third outing at the event.

In 2001, having been granted Division One status, they took a stunning stage victory courtesy of Roberto Laiseka's famous win in the Pyrenees.

A similar result was expected by either Laiseka, team leader Davide Etxebarria or Iban Mayo. But all three proved relatively disappointing.

And the team's highest finish in the general classification was Haimar Zubeldia's 39th place.

That fell some way short of former team leader Inigo Chaurreau's impressive 12th the previous year.

The Basque outfit look to have already learnt from their mistakes in the early season build-up.

Mayo proved his form with a surprise second place in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

He subsequently went on to push Lance Armstrong for victory in the Dauphine Libere - missing out by just over a minute to the Texan.

The team is jointly sponsored by the Basque government and a Basque telecommunications company.

A series of big-name riders have passed through their ranks, among them ONCE rider Joseba Beloki.

Davide Extebarria, who joined the team following the mass clearout at ONCE, will remain the team leader again this time around.





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