Luis León Sánchez sprinted to victory from the break at the Spanish race, Prueba Villafranca - Ordiziako Klasika, after a powerful attack by Astana-Premier Tech teammate Oscar Rodriguez split the race on the final climb.
When Rodriguez took off on the Alto de Abaltzisketa in Larraitz – 3.1 kilometres at 7.3 percent – few could follow with just five riders in the lead group as the finish line approached, with Astana-Premier Tech the only team with two riders. The reduced bunch was chasing close behind but the gap held for long enough for Roriguez to lead out Sánchez who sprinted to victory ahead of Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and
Roger Adrià (Equipo Kern Pharma). Rodriguez came over the line in sixth.
“My teammates did an excellent job for me and in the final I was able to follow Oscar Rodriguez in a leading group,” said Sánchez in a team statement. “We worked well there, and this attack turned out with a nice victory for me. I am really happy with this success, and it really motivates me for the second half of the season.”
It was the first victory of the year for the 37-year-old who had just returned from more than a month off racing, with his last event being Spain’s National Championships, where he relinquished his national title after coming 12th in the road race.
“Coming to the first race after a break is always a bit strange because you never know where you are compared to your rivals, even if you know that you worked hard at home,” said Sánchez. “Anyway, I was motivated to fight for a win here and at the end of the day everything worked out pretty well.
The victory at the 1.1 ranked race, where Sánchez came second in 2014, is Astana-Premier Tech’s tenth of the season. The majority of those victories have come from wins at National Championships, with just three at WorldTour level.
“Well, it is a nice start of the second half of the season for us,” said Astana-Premier Tech’s sports director Giuseppe Martinelli. “We have missed some good opportunities in the first half so I hope we can get something good in the next weeks and months.”
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