By Antonio J. Salmerón
León Sánchez says that last year was a year worth forgetting. His teams, Liberty and Astana, evaporated. His director, Manolo Sáiz, was implicated in Operación Puerto. But with 2006 behind him, Sánchez is in the midst of a strong return to racing with new team Caisse d'Epargne - which he joined at the beginning of this season accompained by his contryman and also team-mate in the Liberty and Astana, José Joaquín Rojas.
The Spanish teammates shone in the Challenge de Mallorca, in which they both wore the leader's jersey; Rojas at the end of the second stage, Sánchez for the overall.
In the Paris-Nice, when options of success in the General classification seemed to slip away, Sánchez scored an emotional victory in the fifth stage in Cannes and finished third. "It was great! I wanted to dedicate a prestigious triumph like this to my brother, who died last year. In the final stage in Mende, my legs did not work, but my teammates and my director, Jaimerena, convinced me that I was able to win. I felt great, so that, I tried it. Contador was sensational, as well as David López, my teammate," Luis León Sánchez explained to Cyclingnews.com.
All this early success is making Sánchez a happy man. "I am still learning. I know that I can do good things, but in the future. I am so young, so that I prefer go ahead step by step. The only thing worries to me is to train. Tour? I think I will be there, accompained by Óscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde. They are my leaders, and I have to learn more from them."
León Sánchez will take part in the Critérium International in France next weekend. After that, the Spaniard rider will ride in Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.