By Antonio J. Salmerón
Euskaltel-Euskadi leader Samuel Sánchez claims to be in need of a break to properly prepare for races in the latter half of the season. Sanchez, who is currently racing in the Volta a Catalunya, said, "I feel well, but we have to take into account that there are many strong rivals here who are preparing the Tour".
The Asturian rider said he's "a bit tired" after contesting the Vuelta al País Vasco, in which he won the time trial, and from his participation in the Spring Classics season, "in which I was ill, and did not do as well as I had hoped".
The reason for the rest period would be to prepare himself for the latter half of the professional cycling season, since the Tour de France does not appear on his calendar. "It has been a personal decision to not attend the Tour," he said. "You have to sacrifice many other races thinking about being in the best form as possible in the Tour."
His ambition instead is on September's Vuelta a España. "I will be there to win. The Vuelta could be seen as less difficult than last year, but it is not true; the long time trial in Zaragoza will be a very hard test. I don't know who the remaining rivals will be yet but it doesn't matter; the most important rival is me".