Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is drawing inspiration from the result of a time trial in the 2007 Vuelta Espana as he tries to limit his losses to Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in today's Bordeaux time trial and hang onto third place overall in the Tour de France.
Sanchez won the 20km time trial, around the town of Villalba on stage 20 of the 2007 Vuelta, beating Menchov by 12 seconds.
The Russian had a three-minute margin on Carlos Sastre and Sanchez and went on to win the Vuelta in Madrid and so perhaps did not give 100% in the time trial. However Sanchez is hoping he can pull off another surprise and stop Menchov from taking third place on the final Tour de France podium in Paris.
The Basque rider leads Menchov by 21 seconds in the general classification before the 52Km time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac.
"It's going to be really difficult. 21 seconds is not much against Menchov but I've got to try," Sanchez said.
"I'm not a bad time trialist but I'm not an expert like Menchov. However I've got to believe I can do it. It was a shorter time trial in the Vuelta and Menchov has beaten me in longer time trials in the Tour de France since then, but we'll see."
Sanchez crashed hard during the early part of the stage to the summit of the Col du Tourmalet. He got up and finished fifth on the stage, gaining eight seconds on Menchov, but hurt his shoulder. He knows that his shoulder could be a problem when he is tucked in time trial position.
"I rode well on the Tourmalet and gained eight seconds. I still feel strong and so I can draw hope from that and from the result in 2007. If I hadn't crashed I might have been able to gain even more time but I can't think like that," he said.
"My shoulder hurts and it could be a problem but I'll fight the pain. I'd hate to lose my place on the podium after three weeks of racing. I'll go down fighting."
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