Sanchez: Help Astana win Vuelta, then worlds

Luis Leon Sanchez plans to be an instrumental part of Astana's strong Vuelta team, and he hopes the race gives him top fitness for worlds.

Photo: TDW

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MILAN (VN) — Top Spanish one-day cyclist, Luis León Sánchez is on the road to Richmond, Virginia, for the world championships this September. His idea is “to win” in the Vuelta a España, worlds, or both.

The second part of his season continues Tuesday with the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain with Team Astana. The Murcian is racing there with Mikel Landa to prepare for the team’s charge on the Vuelta a España starting August 22 in the country’s south.

“I want to improve my condition in the Vuelta a Burgos to arrive on top form for the Vuelta,” Sánchez said in a press statement.

“Astana is fielding a top team; we have the responsibility of fighting for the win and I want to do my part. Nibali, Aru, and Landa are great riders, and we are fighting for nothing less than the win.”

Nibali announced Friday that he will race in Spain alongside Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, second and third in the Giro d’Italia this May, respectively. Nibali, besides winning the Giro in 2013 and the Tour de France in 2014, won the Vuelta in 2010. He is one of only six riders ever to have won all three grand tours.

With Sánchez, the nine-man team will include Diego Rosa, Paolo Tiralongo, and Dario Cataldo. Team manager Giuseppe Martinelli told VeloNews, “This is probably the strongest team that I’ve ever had for a grand tour.”

In the way that Englishman Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) came off the Tour de France and won the Clásica San Sebastián on Saturday, Sánchez aims for the same in the Vuelta and Richmond worlds on September 27.

The 31-year-old is known as one of the most crafty and cunning stage hunters. His ability helped him take four stage victories in the Tour de France over the years, and push on further to overall wins in the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice.

“I want to make the team,” Sánchez said.

“In Baku at the European championships, we showed that we know how to race as a team. I’ve been studying the Richmond course already, looking over the videos sent to me from the team.”

First the Vuelta a España, which begins with a time trial on August 22 in Marbella. Sánchez, who renewed his contract for 2016 and 2017, has to help the team in turquoise win the overall as he tried to do in the Giro with Aru.

“It was easy for me to stay with team Astana,” he added.

“I’m happy in this team, I’ve known [general manager Alexandre] Vinokourov since the time that we raced together in Liberty Seguros. I hope to pay back the trust that the team has given me.”

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