By Monika Prell
Even if Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) said yesterday that he is a bit run down from the racing season so far, he was able to win the last stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Sunday. At the mountain-top finish on Tibidado, a second-category mountain, Sánchez was able to beat Alexander Vinokurov (Astana) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) to the line
Sánchez was very happy after the stage. "During the entire Volta, I felt well," he said. "I tried several times to win a stage - from the beginning or as surprise just before the finish line - but for some reasons I wasn't able to reach my goal. Today I knew that it was an good day for me, with a course that fitted well my abilities.
Sanchez says he didn't take the win for granted though. "Winning is difficult here. The Volta is a ProTour race. I had serious rivals. I waited for my moment in the ascension to the Tibidado, I managed the climb and worked hard so that I could overcome Vinokurov in the final meters."
The 29 year-old said that "I have had a good season; very constant. I had a stage win and a podium place in the Vuelta al País Vasco. A new victory in another ProTour race is a positive balance of the first part of the season 2007."
Sanchez says he will now save himself "until the Euskal [Bizikleta]. That is a very important race for us; it's our home race. I would like to do a good Euskal and then rest a little bit in order to prepare the second part of the season.