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Samuel Sanchez (Eusktaltel-Euskadi)
Olympic champion hopeful after fifth overall placing in Paris-Nice
It has been a good week for Samuel Sanchez. The Euskaltel-Euskadi leader made it through a difficult Paris-Nice escaping the crashes and illnesses of its particularly wet and cold finale in Southern France, eventually finishing fifth overall. Moreover, the Olympic champion secured two second placings, one on stage five and another one on the penultimate stage of the event, and still found the resources to battle it out against Jean-Christophe Péraud on the final stage around Nice for a place in the top five.
"I'm coming home satisfied," Sanchez told the Diario Vasco, even though he missed out on a victory. "My performances were good and I conclude that my preparation is on the right track, starting to show significant results. We lacked only very little to snatch a stage, but others were simply a little bit better. Now, I want to continue working to get to the start of the Vuelta al País Vasco in the best possible condition."
At the Spanish stage race scheduled April 4-9, the Basque rider hopes to repeat his 2010 stage win and his two overall podium placings. After that, his preparation for the Tour de France will take him through a selection of Spring Classics. Sanchez's major goal this year is again the overall classification of the Tour, where he finished fourth last year.