Sánchez had off-day says Euskaltel boss

Holding an advantage of just 21 seconds over Denis Menchov going into the Pauillac time trial, it was always going to be difficult for Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez to hang on to third place on GC. But Sánchez's Euskaltel-Euskadi team manager Igor González de Galdeano admitted that the team had not been expecting their leader to lose two minutes to the Russian.

"It was sad, because we thought that he could finish third but it's been snatched away from us," said Galdeano. "But we have to be satisfied with the performance of the team, because this has been the best result that Euskaltel-Euskadi have taken in their history. There's no doubt that Menchov was very strong. You could see that because he gained two minutes and we have to congratulate him because the race is not only won in the mountains, it's won in the time trials as well."

Galdeano added: "We were a bit surprised by how the time trial went. We knew we were up against a great Menchov but today we thought that we were going to see a great Sánchez. We've seen a great Samuel up to today but for some reason today he wasn't at that level. It's a shame but once again we can only congratulate Menchov."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).