Like the majority of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team Samuel Sanchez was born in the Basque Country and although he's had plenty of stage wins in his home 'tour' Sanchez has never won, placing third three times in 2003, 2007 and 2009. His long awaited victory couldn't have come at a better time for Euskaltel who still require vital extra sponsorship to continue riding at the top-level and developing Basque based riders. Sanchez is clearly on great form, his previous stage win at the Tour of Catalunya was a great boost for the team and together with his latest victory should have secured some good air-time and publicity. It's unfortunate however that this race wasn't broadcast on Eurosport and further afield as that would have been an added bonus.
Not just a great team result, but this win is a fantastic personal achievement for Sanchez, a rider I like very much thanks to his aggressive attacking style. The win in today's Time Trial is a triumph in itself - Sanchez made the most of the wet conditions and the steep profile to beat Time Trial specialist and current TT World Champion Tony Martin who seems to be struggling to find his TT form so far this year. I had Martin down to win this stage, its become almost a formality and Martin's TT palmares from last year alone speaks for itself, Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Sanchez summed it up nicely ''This is not just a victory for me, but also one for the team. Euskaltel Euskadi is a small team but we have a lot of passion.” I'm looking forward to seeing Sanchez and fellow countryman Igor Anton in the Grand Tours this year, if they both manage to put in some good performances then the future should look a little brighter for Euskaltel Euskadi and I hope that will be the case because they really are a passionate, hardworking team with some very classy bike riders.