Sánchez fears Contador in Spanish time trial defence

Luis León Sánchez faces time trial against Tour champion

Luis León Sánchez is concerned the presence of 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador at the Spanish Championships in Cantabria Friday could spoil his chance for victory in the time trial.

"It will be more difficult for us to win, but his presence is really a good thing for Spanish Cycling," said Sánchez of team Caisse d'Epargne.

Sanchez won the title last year in Talavera de la Reina, 16 seconds ahead of Rubén Plaza and 56 seconds on Iván Gutiérrez. He last faced Contador at the 2006 championships when they were Liberty Seguros teammates. Antonio Tauler won, Sánchez placed 13th at 1:43 back and Contador 14th at 1:47.

Contador won the Paris-Nice and País Vasco time trials this year, Sánchez placed third and fifth respectively. After the Dauphiné Libéré Contador announced he would participate in the championships to prepare for the Tour de France time trials.

Sánchez raced the Route du Sud stage race last week instead of the Dauphine Libéré. He finished the race 50th overall, 43 minutes behind winner Przemyslaw Niemec (Miche-Silver Cross).

"I presented myself at the start in Pau feeling tired and without training enough the previous days because I went with my team to examine some stages of the Tour. Plus, I believe I ate something I did to digest very well. But at the end, my body was alright again and I finished the race being really satisfied.

"It was the perfect training for me. This is exactly what I needed just two weeks before going to the Tour."

The Tour de France starts July 4 in Monaco and ends July 26 in Paris.  He will be one of the teams leaders this year since Alejandro Valverde is not racing.  Sánchez finished 59th and won the Aurillac stage last year. (GB)

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