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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Euskaltel-Euskadi
TEAM PROFILE
Iban Mayo
Country: Spain's Basque territory
Manager: Miguel Madariaga
Team leader:
Best Tour: 2001, 12th place by Inigo Chaurreau
The all-Basque team did not have to wait for their place on this year's Tour, having avoided the late wild card shenanigans they faced a year ago.

Organisers had pointed out they were under pressure to prove themselves in 2003, having managed just a stage win in 2001.

But last year they blasted their way into the race annals with three riders storming into the top 20.

Most impressive of all, however, was Iban Mayo's win on top of Alpe d'Huez.

Mayo was the bravest of the team's riders, regularly harrassing Lance Armstrong up the toughest climbs before having to make do with sixth place overall.

That was just a place behind team-mate Haimar Zubeldia, the team's Mr Consistent throughout the three weeks, while Roberto Laiseka was 18th.

Where they may struggle, however, is on the time trial, which could cost Mayo and Zubeldia the chance to keep pace with Armstrong throughout the race.

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.





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