By Antonio J. Salmerón
Samuel Sánchez considers Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) to be his main rivals for the Vuelta al País Vasco, which begins on Monday, April 9th. "They carried out an important role in the last Paris-Nice and Vuelta a Castilla y León."
After a brilliant 2006 season, Sánchez' start of 2007 has been relatively quiet, but the Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader said that he has been training hard and is feeling good. Sánchez added, "Now what I must do is to demonstrate it on the road". While his goal is to win the overall Vuelta al País Vasco, he qualified that "it is always very difficult to win". Even so, he emphasised that all of his team-mates "want to play a brilliant role" at home.
"We will be very ambitious, because it is our race", Sánchez warned. His director, Igor González de Galdeano, insisted that "the Vuelta al País Vasco is one of the most important competitions in our calendar" for this season. "We want to do as well as we can", he emphasised. The ex-professional tipped Unai Etxebarria, Mikel Astarloza, Iñigo Landaluze or Gorka Verdugo and promising young riders such as, Azanza or Hernandez as strong prospects for stage wins.