Rider News: Samuel Sánchez and Le Tour ‘I will try and win’

Defending Olympic champion ‘Sami’ Sanchez says the Tour de France is his main target and then the Olympics…

In an interview on the BiciCiclismo website, the Olympic Road Race Champion Samuel Sanchez expresses his team’s intention to defend his Olympic title and bring the gold back to Spain before adding “The Tour (de France) is the most important race and the main target”.

After finishing sixth in the Tour de France and winning the Mountain’s jersey, Sanchez says “My preparation will be aimed at the Tour de France, to try to be at a level similar to that of recent years. The Tour is the most important race, something special and a race where your country focuses its attention on you”.

The leader of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team adds “the Olympics are one day and if you fall, the race could be lost so I cannot put everything I have on a one day race. If I finish the Tour de France in good condition and recovering well then I know I can ride well.”

“The Tour ends on Sunday on the Champs Elysees in Paris and then six days later, the Olympics so it is not worth going home. I will travel to London for a few days before I go to the Olympic village. I think most riders will be in that situation, unless they go to the Olympics without having done the Tour de France as was the case of Bettini and Rebellin in 2008.”

Sanchez says the 2011 Tour was good for his team with a podium (KoM) and a stage win and says that he will again fight for a place on the podium before adding that he’d like to try and win the Tour. He has twice finished in the top three in the Vuelta.

His race programme will see him based in the warmer climates with events such as the Tours of Mercia and the Basque Country but not the Tour of Italy. “Yes, I would have liked to go to the Giro but being Olympic year, no. Cycling there is a totally different world, amazing”. Sanchez then explains that the rest period after the Giro and the start of the Tour de France  is much shorter because of the Olympics which is while he will miss the Giro.

The final word though is for the Olympics which he says is not a race for the pure sprinter. He explains there is a big difference between two laps of the circuit done for the test event including Box Hill and the nine for the Olympics.

“I’ve talked to people who rode and they say it’s not a route for the pure sprinters, yes for a fast rider such as Freire and Valverde.” Sanchez then adds that Cavendish could be put into difficulty in the hills and that perhaps Gilbert will be the number one favorite.

He says the Spanish manager will have problems picking a team that has to include the riders for the time trial which is flat. “In Beijing, we were lucky because the course was hard, in London, however, it is a flat time trial route. We must take riders in good shape, especially riders who have ridden the Tour de France but the coach has the final decision, “he concludes.

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