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Luis León Sánchez gets ready for Paris-Nice

Luis León Sánchez targets Paris-Nice for the first part of the season.

Luis León Sánchez targets Paris-Nice for the first part of the season. (Image credit: AbarcaSports)

Spaniard Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) will use the Tour Méditerranéen, which starts today, as a preparation for Paris-Nice (March 9-16). It is his first important objective of the 2008 season. After racing in the Australian Tour Down Under and participating in the first stage of the Challenge of Mallorca, the rider from Murcia will prepare himself in the south of France. It will be an important race in order to get ready for the "race to the sun."

Sánchez was "very pleased to go to Australia one more time because in the past I get some good results over there." While this time the team did not win anything, the Caisse d'Epargne rider still believes that "this journey has been an excellent preparation for the first part of the season." Sánchez, who "did not train too hard" since returning to his native Spain, preferred to concentrate on base mileage the last few days. Nonetheless, at the first stage of the Trofeo Mallorca he "felt much better than I would have thought, and that is a good forecast for Paris-Nice."

As for his ambitions in the Mediterranean Tour, the rider acknowledged that "my condition is good, but it is a fact that I still have to improve." While proclaiming the race as preparation, he will "nevertheless try to be ahead, in particular in the stage of the Mont Faron." The climb outside Toulon is often the decision maker for the overall classification and the Spaniard confirms that "I believe that if I am well in this stage, then it is not impossible to go for the general classification." He cautions, though, that "there are other riders in the team which are able to do something great, particularly Iván Gutiérrez, who won the race in 2007 and who is used to do very well in this race."

Sánchez said that "last year I didn't prepare as well as this year, and things worked out well." This year he prepared better for his first objective of the season, but stated that "we know how cycling is. You can never predict what will be happening in a race. What is sure is that I am very motivated and I hope I can contest the overall, or, at the least, win a stage, like I did in 2007.

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