Samuel Sánchez wants strong Vuelta start


Sanchez (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Many riders wish to win the Vuelta a España but very few have the talents to do so, however, Samuel Sánchez is one of those gifted riders. Euskaltel-Euskadi's leader will be accompanied by Haimar Zubeldia, Iñigo Landaluze, Igor Antón, Iñaki Flores, Koldo Fernández, Aitor Hernández, Dionisio Galparsoro, Juan José Oroz and Alan Pérez. The 29 year-old decided not to race in the Tour de France in order to prepare in the best possible way for the Vuelta.

Samuel Sánchez had a discreet performance In the Vuelta a Burgos. "I tried to find a good competitive level facing the Vuelta, where it will be advisable to begin as strong as possible because we will have to confront the first high mountains in the fourth stage, which will finished on the top of the Lagos de Covadonga," the Asturian rider commented for Cyclingnews. "It is a very demanding climb that favours the specialists. They must take advantage, thinking [that later there will be] the long time trial between Cariñena and Zaragoza."

Sánchez referred to this first time trial saying that, "it could be a very hard task for those who come from the Tour de France because, at this point so late in the season, to confront more than 50 kilometres demands an extra effort. The second one [the 20th stage, in Villalba-Madrid] will not be as decisive as the previous one because it is located in the end of the Vuelta but it will be more spectacular because people become bored with so long stages."

Sánchez is a pure climber and, in this way, his best options for gaining the Vuelta will be in the mountain stages. "I prefer go day by day. In this sense, I do not plan where and when I have to attack. When I feel well, I will [attack]. It is clear that it will be better in the mountains, so, there are two interesting stages for trying, in Celer and in Ordino," he summarized.

There are also other mountain stages in the second half of the Vuelta's route; the 15th stage, which will finish in Granada, before confronting the Alto de Monachil, where Alejandro Valverde lost the race lead in 2006, "with a very long and dangerous slope." Two other consecutive stages, Talavera de la Reina to Ávila and Ávila to Alto de Abantos, "when the general classification will be more or less defined."

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