By Monika Prell
Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sánchez is happy with his sixth place on general classification at the Vuelta a España heading into today's first rest day. The Basque team's leader finished third to Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) on Monday's tough mountain stage and currently sits 4.42 minutes behind Menchov on general classification.
"I am very satisfied about how things went on in the last three days," noted Sánchez. "After the Time Trial and the two Pyrenees stages I am sixth in the overall classification, so the balance has been positive. I feel good, today's stage was very complicated due to the kilometres and the mountains. I rose the entire ascent to Ordino equally, I am not able to go along with the accelerations that are imposed by [Leonardo] Piepoli or [Carlos] Sastre, I am not such a good climber like them and I have to do a lot to make a good ascent. I can't chase every attack because in a mountain as hard as Ordino I could pay for it. At the end I thought that I had some options to win, but Menchov showed again that he is strong and he did not forgive. He leaves the Pyrenees as clear favourite to conquer the Vuelta."
The Euskaltel-Euskadi squad had both Alan Pérez and Dioni Galparsoro in the main breakaway on Monday's Stage 10. Igor Antón and Sánchez followed a smaller group in pursuit of Menchov, with both attempting to take the stage victory. "The team has done great work," added Sánchez. "Dioni Galparsoro and Alan Pérez were present in the breakaway group, a fact that gives you calm when it's all about a question of who will work in the race, so you don't have to worry about the gap.
"In the final ascent, Igor Antón was not only able to reach us, he even attacked immediately," he continued. "He has a privileged genetics - he is a pure climber and is an even better person, really. I am very happy that he feels so good, together we are able to cause more damage and to have more options to win."
While the Spaniard has been enjoying the team's performance in its home Grand Tour, he's equally enthused about today's rest day. "We have the rest day, we need it really," said Sánchez. "We have completed half of the Vuelta and you feel the fatigue. A day without competition will be great for us to recuperate and to go about the second part of the Vuelta with joy. There are still some stages to go for a victory, to continue working and struggling."