Once again, Liberty Seguros-Würth will make its season debut in Australia, taking part in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under from January 17-22. With Marino Lejarreta at the helm, the team will consist of Carlos Barredo, Koen de Kort, Eladio Sánchez, Luis León Sánchez, Iván Santos and Jose Joaquín Rojas and locals Allan Davis and Aaron Kemps.
The Liberty team dominated the race last year, with Luis Leon Sánchez winning the overall classification, Alberto Contador taking a stage and Allan Davis also riding very well. This year looks to be no different, with Sánchez saying that he will do "everything possible" to help Allan Davis win a stage, but not ruling out his own chances either.
"I have trained fewer hours that in 2005 but with more intensity," said Sánchez on his winter preparation. "At this time I am good enough and have a good weight to start the year. I have worked especially on my climbing technique. I believe that till now, I was climbing with a very big gear, and because of it I have been training specifically on my pedaling agility. I rode my mountain bike a lot and I believe that it has been very useful."
Sánchez suffered a family tragedy last year when his brother León Sánchez Gil died in a quad bike accident in October. That forced a rethink of Luis' racing program. "At first it was planned that I would begin in Malaysia, but after the death of my brother, Manolo Saiz and I think that the best thing was to begin as soon as possible. To return to Australia is exciting, because I have a very nice souvenirs of my first victory in a stage race, though there will be also Allan Davis. The plan is identical to that of last year, to do everything possible to help Allan and then, the road will decide."
After the JCTDU, Sánchez will have a steady early season. "The immediate aim will be to prepare for Paris - Nice, and later, I will ride Setmana Catalana and 3 Days of de Panne. After a rest, I will return in Alcobendas and the Volta a Catalunya before disputing the Tour de France."
Sánchez aims for a first peak at Paris-Nice. "It is a race that I like and motivates me especially, but also it is necessary to rely on the climate. Last year was very cold and several stages were slow, but already we will see."