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Sánchez claims País Vasco victory

Sánchez with the Basque hat

Sánchez with the Basque hat (Image credit: Susanne Goetze)

By Monika Prell in Ataun, Spain

Spain's Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) won the opening stage of Vuelta al País Vasco, which finished with a bunch sprint in Ataun. Sánchez continued his tradition of dedicating the victory to his late brother, who died in a quad biking accident in 2005.

"My teammates did great work for me and I am happy that I have been able to win," said Sánchez. "I knew that I could do well and I dedicate this win to my brother who died in 2005, who surely is looking at me from above.

"I would like to keep the yellow jersey, but the upcoming stages will be very difficult," he added.

The 25-year-old won the sprint ahead of his compatriot Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) and Frenchman Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) on the 142.5-kilometre stage. The race continues today with a 160-kilometre stage from Ataun to Villatuerta.

Sánchez's other brother, Pedro León Sánchez Gil, is a professional footballer in the Spanish league. While it's not their surname, both brothers carry the name León as a mark of respect to their late grandfather.

Click here for full results, report and photos.

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