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"My individual performance is unnoticed and it is more difficult to win a stage for example, but fortunately everything has gone well and I'm happy about that. It is satisfying to see how a leader can get a win thanks to the w...

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28.12.2015 @ 15:05 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Luis Leon Sanchez (1983) has adapted to Astana and changed his role and mentality to being a bodyguard for his leaders Vincenzo Nibali and especially Fabio Aru whom he will support for much of the season. The Spaniard admits that his personal ambition is now limited but that domestique work has its rewards like when he helped Aru win the Vuelta a Espana and take second in the Giro d'Italia.

 

Having renewed his Astana contract for two years, he hopes to build on the momentum, is more focused, and ready to offer his best in the service of others. In 2016, he will go into his 13th season after he turned professional at just 20 years of age and is now a veteran appreciated by everyone in the blue team.

 

The Spaniard has found the necessary stability at Astana. “It allows me to stay quiet to focus on training, care, having a winter with clear guidelines and doing everything normally. The truth is I'm happy. After the Giro they told me they wanted to renew,” he says in a press release. "Last year I was maybe a bit obsessed about returning to the WorldTour after what had happened. I wanted to do everything well, winning the first race. The move did not take away my anxiety and obsession that will lead to failure. Luckily, it is now over. This year I will try to not make the same mistakes and get it right. The intention is to try to start well and then the road will decide," he adds.

 

Sanchez has become a valued domestique by the leaders of Astana. "I've been fortunate that Nibali wants to do the Giro and Aru wants to do the Tour and the team has decided to do it that way. And that is good because they have seen the work I have done. They gave me confidence and then after the Giro I was offered a two-year renewal. I am appreciated. We are now starting a new year, with new objectives and new ambitions,” he says.

 

In his new role he leaves personal ambitions aside and works for others, a step that requires you to have "ambition but this is a mental issue. For example, earlier at Caisse de Epargne, Alejandro was there but perhaps there was a more individualistic mentality. This year we decided we would work one hundred percent to help Aru winning the Giro and the Vuelta. They are different roles. My individual performance is unnoticed and it is more difficult to win a stage for example, but fortunately everything has gone well and I'm happy about that. It is satisfying to see how a leader can get a win thanks to the work that you and you teammates do,” he says. "We have a rider like Aru who is talented and has a great a future. It was great to see him fight with Contador every day in the Giro. He has earned that trust," he says.

 

In fact, Sanchez will escort Aru in "almost his entire calendar" which consists of the races in Australia, Valencia, Murcia, Almería, Algarve, Paris-Nice, Tour of the Basque Country, the Ardennes classics, perhaps Romandie, Dauphine and the Tour. The French race where the Sardinian will make his debut, is the great challenge for Astana and Sanchz’ experience will be key. In fact, he has four stage wins. "We must be cautious. First he has to learn about the stress and how it is raced, the pressure in the best race in the world. We don’t want to put the full responsibility on him, but we know that there are more experienced riders like Froome, Quintana and Contador. We have to wait for our time and opportunity and make our own race,” he says.

 

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is another goal. "For me it would be very important, but three riders have already been selected (Valverde, Rodriguez, Contador, ed. ) and that is logical. The there is Castroviejo who did a good time trial at the Worls. And there are many riders for the remaining spots. I try to do a good work and to fight and hopefully I will get selected. And [Spanish coach] Minguez has said that we first have to get through the Tour and I could be lucky. The legs will make the decision and everything depends on the Minguez’s decision and his needs. I know what I can do," he says.

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