Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) struggled through the Critérium du Dauphiné after crashing early on the opening road stage, but the Spaniard’s Tour de France participation is not in doubt after a scan on Monday confirmed that he had sustained no broken ribs in the incident.
The Olympic champion consulted Sporting Gijon club doctor Antonio Maestro on his return from France, and learned that he was suffering from a tear to his left latissimus dorsi muscle and an edema near his right fourth rib. Sanchez will spend two days off the bike before beginning his final build-up to the Tour.
“If I had pulled out of the Dauphiné, I would have been a step behind in my preparation and I could almost have waved goodbye to the Tour, but I managed to keep going and at least I have eight days of high-level racing in my legs,” Sanchez told El Comercio.
Sanchez, who finished the Dauphiné almost an hour down on overall winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) will travel to Sierra Nevada on Wednesday to undertake a ten-day training camp at altitude. Third overall in 2010 [following the disqualification of Alberto Contador – ed.] and king of the mountains last year, Sanchez agreed that based on their Dauphiné form, Wiggins and defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) would be the men to beat in July.
“Wiggins is very strong and his Sky team is really very motivated,” said Sanchez. “I also felt that Evans was going very well."