León Sánchez's "atypical" season

Sánchez takes early season stage win in Paris-Nice.

Sánchez takes early season stage win in Paris-Nice. (Image credit: AFP)

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Luis León Sánchez of Caisse d'Epargne won stage six of Paris-Nice this spring, but the 23 year-old Spaniard considers 2007 to be like 2006 – "atypical." "Again [the season] turned out to have an atypical end, without results," said Sánchez to Cyclingnews.

In addition to training and racing, he organized a memorial mountain bike race in his brother's honour (León León died two year ago in a motorbike accident.) His work, however, has not produced the results that he feels he should have achieved. "I never obtained suitable results that agreed with the work I performed. It was made more difficult by health problems, like in 2006 when I had to leave the Vuelta a España and abandon hopes of riding the time trial world championships."

His 2007 season started well with the overall victory in the Challenge Mallorca and victory in Cannes at Paris-Nice, which was dominated by his ex-team-mate, Alberto Contador. However, his riding in the Vuelta a España and the Worlds time trial in Stuttgart was not up to his standards.

"I had a strong performance at the beginning of season," he continued. At the end of the 2006 season he left the side of Manolo Saiz as Team Liberty Seguros crumbled. "I think that [the spring] resulted from good work during the winter, as it was accustomed with Manolo Saiz. I wasn't doing too bad half-way into the season, obtaining the silver medal in the national time trial [championships] in Cuenca."

He was not selected for the Tour de France. "The fact is that I worked very hard to confront the Tour, but I did not go there. It is clear that I will have to re-think my planning for the sake of optimising results; the [2006] programme was one that I wanted [with the exception of racing the Vuelta instead of the Tour]."

Sánchez pushed himself up with the favourites for the end of season; he was placed highly in the Deutschland Tour. "I went there before the Vuelta. I raced without pressure, and the necessity to be at the top of the general classification. I had good sensations and I believed to be ready for the Vuelta, but 48 hours before [the start] I had serious health problems, as well as [Oscar] Pereiro and [Xabier] Zandio; not the things that one hopes for."

He has one more year left in his contract, and some have linked him with Astana and Contador for 2009. "I do not want to contemplate changes, although who knows," he concluded.

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