Despite the relatively weak field - with Movistar and Caja Rural the only professional teams amongst the 16 contesting the race - the Murcian rider admitted that this one was unexpected. "I've been suffering and having weird feelings for so long I sincerely didn't think I would perform this well,” he admitted shortly after his success.
Sánchez thinks his relative underperformance may be due to an illness he caught in Africa. "I asked to start racing in January, in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo. I took many vaccines and those possibly affected my body. Since I came back from Africa, I haven't been able to train or race as I would have liked to. Every time I tried to dig deep, my body forced me to stop."
After signing for Caja Rural this winter, the season hasn't been brilliant so far for Sánchez. He seized an early success at stage 1 of Tropicale Amissa Bongo, missing out on the overall by only one second to Natnael Berhane (Europcar). Later on, he was on the podium of the Vuelta a Andalucía, only surpassed by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Richie Porte (Team Sky). After that, he was anonymous in both the Volta al Catalunya and the Vuelta a País Vasco, before delivering an 8th place overall in Turkey.
Cyclingnews spoke to Caja Rural’s team doctor, Giuliano Peruzzi, who said, "Luisle's condition was fine until Vuelta a Andalucía. Then, he suffered an infection and took some antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Since then, he hasn’t felt fine again - yesterday was his first good day after many bad ones, indeed."
"This permanent limitation makes us wonder he might have some sort of virus or bacteria in his body", explains Peruzzi. "General medical tests haven’t found anything, so this week he is undergoing some specific ones to detect what's wrong."
In the meantime, Sánchez will take a break from racing and training, not only because of these "bad feelings", but also because the season has been intense so far for him. With 46 competitions days, he is the rider who has raced most in 2014. "Now it's time to stop, with a complete recovery and the Vuelta a España in mind", he said before going up to the podium of the Vuelta a Castilla y León.