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"I've been fortunate to win it and I have always enjoyed it. It is an important race for me. Hopefully I can do well and get a victory. We have not done anything wrong and I'm fine."

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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LUIS LEÓN SÁNCHEZ

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PARIS - NICE

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03.03.2015 @ 13:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) returns to Paris-Nice with the hope and confidence that he will be able to well in a race which he won in 2009, was second in 2010, third in 2007 and has taken a total of four stage victories. He arrives at the Race to the Sun with good feelings after a fifth place in the Volta ao Algarve.

 

The Spaniard was just 7 seconds from a spot on the podium in Algarve after he had made his debut in the Tour Down Under and made his European debut in the Vuelta a Murcia (where he was 5th) and Clasica de Almeria. "I'm happy to be in front. Thomas, Porte and Sky were far superior, especially in the stage to Malhao because they controlled the many Etixx attacks. It is true that I  wasclose to the podium, and I have to be happy, knowing that it was my first time trial of the year,” he says.

 

He has now returned to his sunny home country to prepare for Paris-Nice. "First I tried to recover from Algarve. Every day was very fast and the flattest stage had 1900 meters of altitude. We are fortunate to have really good weather in Murcia, we can even ride in shorts. Throughout the year it is difficult to avoid a week of could of rain but I couldn’t have trained better,” he says.

 

Paris-Nice is one of his favorite races after he won the event in 2009, was second in 2010 and third in 2007 and won four stages (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012). "I've been fortunate to win it and I have always enjoyed it. It is an important race for me. Hopefully I can do well and get a victory. We have not done anything wrong and I'm fine," he explains. "The WorldTour points are very important for the teams and it would be good to be close to the podium.”

 

Sanchez is not scared by the course which starts with a time trial and ends with the TT up the Col d’Eze and also includes a summit finish. “Compared to Algarve, Paris-Nice has eight stages. Something could happen any day. In the first days, there is the wind and we could have rain and cold. And the summit finish is very different from the Alto do Malhao (in Algarve, ed.) The course looks good but only after the final time trial we will know how we have done. If I lose time in the mountaintop finish, I will forget about the GC and try to win a stage. We will see day by day,” he says.

 

Last week the UCI asked the license commission to reconsider its decision to grant Astana a WorldTour license. Nonetheless, Sanchez goes into Paris-Nice “with as much calmness as usual. I have received the flight tickets and the hotel and training plans by email, just as for the previous races. We have been told to keep working and doing things in the right way,” he says.

 

The Spaniard has been a professional for 12 seasons and feels comfortable at Astana where he has returned to the WorldTour. “The image of the team is good. Last year I won two races and it was harder for me to win. I am always ahead and attentive, and whether I win or not depends on many factors.Wwith this attitude we are on the right track. I have been treated well by the team and hopefully I can stay here for a long time,” he says.

 

This year Sanchez is scheduled for a debyt at the Giro d’Italia. "Last year I was fortunate to ride several WorldTour races with Caja Rural and finally we also did the Vuelta but now I feel comfortable and at ease and am happy to have a returned to the best racing calendar in the world," he says. 

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