Tour Down Under

Luis Leon Sanchez Wins Stage 5 of 2010 Tour Down Under

Photo: courtesy
Guy Dedieu

Photo: courtesy
Guy Dedieu

Five years after he won both the third stage and the final general classification of the Tour Down Under, Luis Leon Sanchez (Team Caisse d'Epargne) won again in Australia earlier today.

The rider from Murcia, Spain, who took the win in the fifth stage of the first ProTour event of the season (Snapper Point-Willunga, 150 kilometers) after an exciting final is now second in the overall rakings, eleven seconds behind race leader André Greipel of Team HTC-Columbia.

"I arrived in Australia with a different preparation comparing with the previous years because this winter I did not work so much in the gymnasium as I did before to avoid the muscular mass to increase too much. It looks like it was not a bad idea. We had very good training sessions in Australia, always with sunny weather and I noted that I was improving every day. It is obvious that today win is a big motivation for the first part of the season. I hope to get such good results as I did the previous years," Luis Leon Sanchez told after the stage finish.

"Cadel Evans attacked when we climbed Willinga Hill for the second time and four riders went in the lead: Evans, Young rider Sagan, team-mate Alejandro Valverde and myself," Sanchez added.

Though Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) has played down his chances of taking the overall win in the 2010 Tour Down Under he was not about to let an opportunity pass without giving it a very good shot. "I'm feeling well, the team is working extremely well together as a unit, and so we tried to make the most of the opportunity that the Willunga climb offered," Evans explained. "We knew Caisse d'Epargne would be the biggest rivals for the victory on the day, and since there were two of them up front with me, and a hard charging peloton behind, I ended up in kind of an uncomfortable sandwich. Things didn't work out exactly as we would have liked, but these are early days still. We can certainly say we have achieved what we came here to achieve at this race."

Andre Greipel managed to survive the mountain stage of the 2010 Tour Down Under to keep the race lead going into Sunday final stage in Adelaide.

The HTC-Columbia team worked hard to try to control the race from the beginning and finally narrowed the gap to a break of four riders including Luis Leon Sanchez (Team Caisse d'Epargne), Sagan, Alejandro Valverde (Team Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing). They attacked on the final climb at Willunga. Thanks to the great work by his teammates, race leader Greipel finished only nine seconds behind stage winner Leon Sanchez, giving Greipel an 11 second lead in the General Classification at the end of the day.

"I'm so thankful to my team," said an exhausted Greipel after the stage. "Without them I wouldn't be in the lead after today.

"All day the team worked at the front to keep the gap low to the first break. Then over the climb they really looked after me and we had to chase really hard all the way to the finish. We didn't have time to panic. The break had 40 seconds. We just had to start chasing. The team has been working hard for me all week so I had to show them that I was thankful by really suffering to stay there on the climb today. Mick Rogers could have gone for his own victory today too but he wanted to stay with me and help me win the Tour," Greipel added.

Tomorrow is a 90 km circuit race in downtown Adelaide.

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