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2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
Spaniard returns after team suspension
Luis Leon Sanchez and Sep Vanmarcke will form Blanco’s assault on the Tour of Belgium. The race starts Wednesday with a 194.2 kilometre stages from Lochristi to Knokke-Heist. The race also marks Sanchez’s return to racing after the team sidelined him due to links between the Spaniard and Operacion Puerto.
“We don’t have an ordained lead man, but with Lars Boom and Sep Vanmarcke, we certainly have two guys who know their way around the Ardennes,” said Blanco sports director Erik Dekker.
After a classics campaign that culminated with second place at Paris-Roubaix, Vanmarcke has returned to racing in recent weeks after a short break. He finished 5th in Rund um Köln last week and has targeted the Belgian parcour for stage wins.
“I see some chances, especially in the second and fourth stages. To score well in the classification will be difficult for me, considering my time trial skills and a very challenging last day. It’s not often that I get the chance to race in my homeland outside the preseason. I am looking forward to it.”
Sanchez was suspended by the team in February of this year, with the team announcing an internal investigation into his ties to Eufemiano Fuentes. The rider denied any association and although Blanco have not produced the findings of their report they have taken Sanchez off his inactive status.