No Vuelta for Samuel Sanchez, Anton to lead team
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Vuelta for Samuel Sanchez, Anton to lead team

by Shane Stokes at 10:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Olympic champion decides not to contest home Grand Tour

Samuel SanchezAlthough his early withdrawal from the Tour de France and absence from the Olympic Games made the Vuelta a España a possible replacement target for Samuel Sanchez, the Spaniard will not take part in this year’s race.

Instead, Igor Anton will lead the Euskaltel Euskadi selection for the Grand Tour, according to Biciciclismo.

Anton will be joined by eight others from the team, with that selection to be made up out of a shortlist comprising Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Juanjo Oroz, Mikel Landa, Romain Sicard, Pierre Cazaux, Ivan Velasco, Alan Perez, Mikel Astarloza Miguel Minguez.

Sanchez crashed on stage eight of the Tour de France, fracturing the third metacarpal in his left hand. He withdraw from that race and returned home, hoping to recover in time for the Olympic road race. However he announced a week ago that he would be unable to defend his title as his recovery was not progressing fast enough.

“It was my most painful decision for some time,” he said then. “I am the Olympic champion and I wanted to defend the medal that changed my life. Since that victory, I have a street named after me, a lifestyle statue that reflects the moment I bit the medal… It was a significant victory for four years, I have a worn a jersey that identified my Olympic gold.”

It is not yet clear what programme he will follow, or when he will resume racing. The world road race championships later this year is a possible alternative target for the 34 year old.

Anton rode very strongly in the 2010 Vuelta a España, winning two stages and leading overall. However he crashed out on stage 14, suffering a fractured elbow. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) took over the lead that day and went on to win the race overall.

Anton returned to the race last year determined to shine but was far off his top form. He finished only 33rd but salvaged his race with a stage victory. His best results this year are seventh in the Critérium International and third in the Klassica Primavera.

He was 29th in the recent Tour of Poland and is working hard on his form to be in the right condition for the Vuelta a España. The 2012 edition of the race begins in Pamplona on August 18th.

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