By Hedwig Kröner in Sisteron
One of the riders who has not met his goals in this year's Paris-Nice is Spain's Luis León Sánchez. The Caisse d'Epargne rider, who finished third last year behind winner Alberto Contador and runner-up Davide Rebellin, had the French race on top of his to-do list for this season, but lost out on the 'Giant of Provence', the Mont Ventoux.
"I had some difficulties yesterday, climbing the Mont Ventoux [He lost 2'18" on GC - ed.]. Now, all I have left is try to win a stage... and try to get closer again to the leaders," a disappointed Sánchez told Cyclingnews on Friday morning. He is now in seventh place on the overall classification, 2'06" minutes back.
As to the reasons for his difficulties, Sánchez could not say what exactly went wrong. "I came here from Murcia, where the weather had been nice, and the first stages were all cold, wet and windy," he said. "So that might be one explanation for why I had this crisis on the climb. I'm not happy about it. I came here to win Paris-Nice, and these hopes kind of vanished yesterday, so even wearing the best young rider jersey [for race leader Robert Gesink - ed.] is not a consolation..." Last year, the young Spaniard won the penultimate stage to Cannes, so there might yet be an opportunity or two for him to make amends.