Sanchez dreams of the Tour
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sanchez dreams of the Tour

by Ben Atkins at 3:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez only managed one victory in 2009, but a host of podium and top ten finishes mean that he is not too disappointed. In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Marca he looked back on the season and ahead to the next, particularly next year’s Tour de France.

"My performance was good, very good at times, such as the World Championships,” he said, “but I had didn’t have the luck to win another race. I did not get the wins that I expected, but I'll take the performances I've had because I've been fighting with the best."

Sanchez’s season begun strongly with results that included his only win at the GP Llodio, third place overall – and the points competition – at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and good a good showing at the Ardennes classics topped by 4th place at la Flèche Wallonne.

His form returned again towards the end of the season, where he finished second in the Vuelta a España – just 55 seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde – fourth in the World Championships and second at the Giro di Lombardia.

"In the Vuelta,” said Sanchez, “I was physically up there with Valverde, but circumstances were not on my side."

"My legs were extraordinary [at the World Championships],” he went on. “I was thinking, ‘today is the day’,” but in the end he had to settle for fourth place, outsprinting Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara 30 seconds behind the medallists. “Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez] made a attack and took the bronze, but really wanted gold"

For 2010, his main objective is already clear: "I dream of the podium of the Tour,” he said, “that and to win a stage.

“I know it's complicated, because they will be Alberto [Contador], Andy [Schleck], [Lance] Armstrong, [Cadel] Evans, Alejandro [Valverde] and many others, but I also know I can keep up."

"I like [the course],” he continued. “It has a very hard last week, where I usually go better, and like the Vuelta it has three hard stages in a row [the stages to Ax-3 Domaines, Bagneres de Luchon and Pau]. "Then, after a day of rest, the Tourmalet and the final time trial. I like it"

Sanchez missed the Tour this year, choosing to ride the Vuelta instead. He last rode the Tour de France in 2008 when he finished 6th, which served as excellent preparation for the Beijing Olympic games.

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