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Aiztondo kicks off a long-awaited Copa de España for a peloton eager for competition

XVII Aiztondo Klasikoa / Patxi Alkorta Memoriala
Asteasu – Zizurkil (146 km)

At last. The elite and U23 Spanish Cup returns this Sunday, two weekends later than originally planned. The health situation has not made things easy at the start of 2021 and has continued to affect the normality of the pre-set calendar. And not only in the Cup. Neither the Circuito del Guadiana nor the Trofeo Guerrita, the first two rounds of the tournament, have been able to take place. The Gran Premio Primavera de Ontur and the new Vigo Copa de España U23 have also been moved. Aiztondo, the third event of the competition, has become the first event of this edition of the Cup. The general feeling is unanimous: there is a great hunger for competition.

The Basque race, always with an itinerant route within the territory of Gipuzkoa, and following demanding prevention protocols, will once again offer a complicated route due to the succession of climbs that will make it tougher. The 2021 edition can be divided into three parts: a first route of just over 79 kilometres in which Altzo, Larraitz, Altzo, Alkiza and Aduna must be climbed; a second circuit of 14.3 kilometres in which four turns must be completed, each of which involves passing through Aduna; and finally a final loop of 7.4 kilometres in which Zizurkil must be passed and, just 4 kilometres from the finish, the Aduna climb once again.

Álvaro García from Cantabria, Vicente Hernaiz from Castilla-León, Álex Martín from Catalonia, Edu Pérez-Landaluce from Asturias, Fernando Tercero from Castilla-La Mancha and the Andalusians David Martín and Mario Vilches make up the first seven riders of the team led by Rafa Díaz Justo for the opening round of the competition. “I’m really looking forward to finally making my debut this year, physically I feel good and also mentally. On Sunday in the Basque Country we are going to give everything, to enjoy ourselves and to try to achieve a great result, which I think we can do. This year we are facing it as always, with enthusiasm, with desire, working little by little every day to be able to fulfil our dream at the end of the year”, explains Pérez-Landaluce.

For Álex Martín it will also be the first of the season. A small problem with his arm, the result of a crash during a training session in mid-January, is a thing of the past: “Postponements, from a sporting point of view, are always a bit of a nuisance, but they were also something that we all expected to happen. Already last year it was clear to us that no matter how much things improved, they were not going to improve 100% at the moment and certainly not at the beginning of the year. It’s a bummer, but you have to keep in mind that it’s something that can happen and face it with hard work and competing at the top of your game. It’s not easy to train so much and compete so little, but that’s what we’ve all had to live with”.

“The preseason has been atypical and quite long due to all the suspensions and postponements of races, but the work we have done has been very good. The desire to take advantage of all the races is enormous. Aiztondo is one of the toughest races in the Cup, in my opinion, because of the final circuit and that will always be good for my conditions”, said Mario Vilches.

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