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Caisse d'Epargne still on the hunt

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Despite missing out a stage win so far Caisse d'Epargne leaders, Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde, are keen to makir mark on this year's Paris-Nice.

Even though Astana's Alberto Contador has held the overall lead since stage four to Mende, Sanchez, 2009 winner of the event, hopes to put the leader in trouble.

"Alberto has a firm grip on the race now," he told Cyclingnews before the start of stage five in Pernes-les-Fontaines. "Still we will try and change this, depending on how the race goes every day, and play our card."

Nevertheless, Sanchez admitted, "But I think he has really good chances of winning now."

Caisse d'Epargne's chance will be to attack the Spaniard whenever there is an opportunity, with the firm aim to make up some time and even score a stage victory. "I will work for Alejandro but I could also ride for myself if there is the right opportunity. Of course I would still like to win a stage but I also need to work for my team. We will see!" said Sanchez.

Later in the stage five to Aix-en-Provence, the Spaniard kept his promise and attacked several times, but a nervous day raced at high speeds put an end to all breakaway attempts save for the final one by the impressive stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas).

At least, now that the 'race to the sun' has reached Provence, Sanchez was happy to find the weather conditions improved. "The worst is behind us now. At least, the sun is out here in the south and that already makes a big difference," he said.


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