Weird but true: if Luis Leon Sanchez father had not been the victim of a terrorist attack, his son would probably never been a cyclist, let alone win stage seven of the Tour.
Sanchez father was a policeman in the Basque Country on patrol in Bilbao when an ETA
terrorist, driving a car, attempted to run him. The car went over Luis Sanchez father?s legs, and therapy was ordered by the doctor for the major injuries to his limbs was – riding a bike.
Luis Leon and his three brothers – one of whom, Leon, was killed a couple of years back in a
motorbike accident, and to whom Luis Leon dedicated the victory – started riding bikes too to
keep their father company. Luis Leon was four. That was the start of Sanchez long road to
victory in yesterday?s stage seven.
As a teenager, Luis Leon started off as a trackie, winning several prizes at national level.
Consistent if not brilliant riding caught the attention of Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz,
and he then joined the team as a pro in 2004.
A great friend of Alejandro Valverde?s – they both come from Murcia – Sanchez instantly started winning minor events in Spain, like stages of the Clasica Alcobendas and the Tour of Asturias. Victory in the Tour Down Under in 2005 – where a certain team-mate called Alberto Contador provided strong support – was his first big breakthrough on an international level.
Stage victories two years running in Paris-Nice have both come thanks to downhill attacks. In
2007 as a new member of the Caisse D?Epargne team, his move scuppered an attack, ironically enough, by Contador – who went on to win the race overall in any case.
One of the top riders in Spain against the clock, Sanchez recently won the national time trial
championships. In the Tour his role is principally to provide support for Valverde. But should a stage win like yesterday?s come up, the 24-year-old is quick to take it with both hands.
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE
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