At the beginning of February 2022, a new edition of the French Boucles de l’Essor was held, a race in which an ex-professional like Romain Feillu, 38 years old, won and in which a young Guipuzcoan from Irun called Haimar Etxeberria made his debut in the U23 category. The rider from Irún, who comes from a farming family and lives in a farmhouse in a privileged environment, made his debut with an outstanding fourth place in the final sprint. “A nice result to start with”, he recalls. “I’m very competitive, winning is always more complex, but I like to go back to the van knowing that I’ve given 100%”. Etxeberria has been one of the most prominent new faces in the amateur field, with good performances in the Basque calendar and even a top10 in the Spanish Cup, although his first year as a U23 was also marked by misfortune. “I started the season riding very well, but I broke my wrist in the Valenciaga Memorial and had to stop at an important moment. I was very angry at the time, of course. Then, little by little, I got back to a good level. In the Volta a Valencia I felt better. In general I am happy with the season, I have had good classifications and the victory could come when I have had that option, and I have worked a lot in favour of my team-mates when I had those instructions”. The new EOLO-KOMETA U23 rider is an athlete whose origins in cycling are not in road or mountain biking. His roots are in trial. “I achieved good results, I won the Basque Country championship and I finished sixth in a world championship. I was 11 years old. My goal then was to be world champion. Physically I was plumper, my case was a bit like Raúl García Pierna’s, and that weighed me down. As I was a bit overweight, I thought that by riding on the road I could get fitter. So I bought the skinny bike and started to train on it. I fell in love with it. Every time I went out riding I liked it more and more and the day came when I told myself that I was going to focus on the road. People told me how I was going to change modalities, at home they didn’t believe me either… But I started to compete in Infantiles and I still do today”. The emergence of the COVID-19 and the dizzying evolution that cycling has undergone in the last four years ended up postponing the celebration of the Selection Campus organised by the Contador Foundation every September, but among the participants of the last physical edition, held in Zaragoza, there was an Etxeberria, then a second cadet, who made a great impression. “I really enjoyed that weekend, I had a great time. It was a very nice experience and I have great memories of it. The activities with the other participants, the talks, the many moments of fun, the bike ride we shared with Juan Pedro López… In the end, cycling in Gipuzkoa is a very closed circle and that experience was a great opening to other realities”. During this season Etxeberria will continue to combine competition with his studies for a higher degree in “Mechanisation, maintenance and programming”.
General Volta a la Provincia de Valencia
Campeonato de Gipuzkoa CRI