Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) overcame a long winless streak in the Volta ao Algarve last week, where he won the uphill finish to Alto da Foia and took hold of the race lead. But his good fortunes soon ended, and he crashed out of the race during the time trial.
Sanchez got back on the bike today after Friday's spectacular crash, which occurred before the turnaround when a gust of wind and gravel swept his wheels out from under him. The injuries looked worse than they were, and he was fortunate to escape any fractures.
"I have many bruises, a lot of pain, but fortunately nothing is broken," he said to Biciciclismo. "My whole body hurts, especially the wrists, I have a sore jaw, scratches on my knees, but nothing serious to my legs."
Sanchez was taken to the hospital after his crash and received stitches to a cut on his chin that was the worst of his injuries. "I bled a lot from the cut on my chin, and it seemed that I had broken my face, people were scared, they thought I had a head injury," he said.
Before Algarve, Sanchez had not raised his arms in victory since 2014, when he raced for Caja Rural. Since 2013, when the former Rabobank team suspended him for suspected links to Eufemiano Fuentes, Sanchez has been a shadow of the Paris-Nice winner he once was. He moved to Caja Rural after Belkin bought out the remainder of his contract in 2013, then found a home with Astana in 2015.
Now, he hopes to head back to Paris-Nice next month with renewed confidence after his Algarve success.
"I had lost confidence, but I was starting to find the desire to win. I was close in Valencia, had good legs in Murcia and in Algarve was all good. The victory at least gives me the peace of mind that things are going well. You go home with another perspective, with something positive. I know that I am very well and the victory makes you be more relaxed, and means that training has been good."
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