Jorge Azanza (Alsasua, Navarra, 40 years old) was a professional cyclist with Kaiku and Euskaltel. Since 2015 he began working as Sports Director at the amateur Euskaltel Euskadi. The structure grew and, together with his friend Mikel Landa, he followed first-hand the evolution of a project that now belongs to the Continental Pro level but dreams of reaching the highest level again, the UCI Pro Team. Azanza was in Derio on Thursday for the presentation of the professional team, the women’s team of Laboral Kutxa and the academy structure with the Under-23 riders.
– How do you feel? How are you?
– Well, I really want to start. Happy with the start of all the teams in Derio and already waiting to play the first kilometers.
– In what spirit do they begin to walk?
– Our idea is to fight from the beginning. We have a staff of twenty riders and a larger calendar than in other seasons. I think it is extensive and of quality.
– What squad have you designed for the 2023 season?
– We have made a fighting team, which will try to be attentive in the races and get into all the breaks. Then he will try to win races, but it is difficult because there are many roosters in the tests we run.
– What is the short-term schedule?
– We already started with Valencia, Mallorca, Saudi Tour, then we will go to the Arctic Race and, for example, this year we will participate in the Tour of Rwanda, in Africa, which is a novelty for us. It is the first time we go there. We had not raced in Africa before.
– And, logically, the rest of the classic calendar.
– Yes, the races that take place in France, Italy, Spain and in most European countries. The important thing.
– I notice you wanting everything to start this weekend.
– It is that all the seasons are exciting but this perhaps, more. Because it is the one that begins. The riders have done their job well and now they have to prove it on the bike.
– Do you notice illusion in the orange template?
– A lot. We are a young team, which is growing little by little and now what we have to see is our place in the races. For us it is very important to train runners who can later become professionals. And at Euskaltel Euskadi, with the support of the sponsors, we are proud of the pyramid that we are forming.
– As is logical, and recurring, one of the objectives of the season is to ride the Tour of Spain.
– It is difficult, there is a long way to go and it is not in our hands either. If the criterion that is going to be taken for the invitations is sports, we have to show that we have made merits to be there. It won’t stay for us.
– And what plans do you have to convince the organization?
– It will be important to get off to a good start, for the kids to give their best version. We are going to give everything from the beginning and we have to focus on that because the other issues are now in vain.
– If the Euskadi Foundation, and Euskaltel in particular, is characterized by something, it is the support of the people. You always see a lot of orange jerseys in the gutters, especially when the races are here. What message does he send you in that presentation ?
– Well, that they continue to support us, that we notice their encouragement in the races and on a day-to-day basis and that the cyclists will surely have an extra point in their home races and I have no doubt that they will show their faces.
– La Vuelta is important but the year has some key moments for Euskaltel, right?
– For us the calendar has some special peaks with the tests that are run here: the Itzulia, the Clásica de San Sebastián, Getxo, Ordizia and, if they invite us to the Vuelta, well, all the better.