Chris Horner will be missing one of his most experienced and valued teammates in his defense at the Vuelta al País Vasco after Haimar Zubeldia announced he will not start due to a bout of the flu.
Zubeldia, who comes from Spain’s Basque Country, fell ill during the Volta a Catalunya two weeks ago and his still not recovered. The six-stage Tour of the Basque Country starts Monday.
“This week I was with fever and I could not train nor recover in time to take the start in these conditions,” Zubeldia said Sunday. “It’s too bad, because it’s my home race and I had been preparing with a lot of motivation and thought I could arrive in good form.”
Zubeldia, who lives in the beach-side town of Zarautz, says he will now turn his attention to the Ardennes classics.
RadioShack will line up with a strong squad. Defending champion Horner starts with the No. 1 bib while former winner Andreas Klöden is coming off good form following TT wins at Paris-Nice and Critérium International.
Levi Leipheimer is expected to start in his comeback race following his late-hour abandonment from the Volta a Catalunya with an old intestinal injury.
RadioShack for Tour of the Basque Country
● Chris Horner
● Andreas Klöden
● Levi Leipheimer
● Jason McCartney
● Sergio Paulinho
● Markel Irizar
● Matt Busche
● Ivan Rovny