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01.12.2015 @ 14:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Luis Leon Sanchez (1983, Astana) will return to the Tour de France, a race in which he has won four stages. The Spanish rider will be part of Fabio Aru's group in 2016.


Sanchez has four stage wins in the Tour, Aurillac (2008), Saint Girons (2009), Saint-Flour (2011) and Foix (2012). Since then, however, he has not returned to the French race. Belkin kept him out of racing for much of 2013, Caja Rural-RGA was not invited in 2014 and in his first year at Astana he made his debut at the Giro d'Italia and did the Vuelta a Espana, both in support of Fabio Aru.


And in that role as Aru's bodyguard, the Astana rider will return to the Tour in his second season with the Kazakh team - he has renewed his contract until 2017 - and 14th year in the pro peloton, according to Spanish website BiciCiclismo.



Sanchez who last week turned 32, travelled to Valencia on Sunday after the first gathering of Astana in Montecatini Terme and headed to Calpe, where he will train with the rest of his teammates for nearly two weeks. He still has to define his final schedule but is likely to follow Aru's programs. The Italian will make his Tour debut after winning the Vuelta and finishing second in the Giro in 2015. 


Like the Sardinian, his first race could be the Volta Valenciana and he is likely to do the Dauphiné before returning to the Tour, a race that he did every year between 2008 and 2012, with four wins and a tenth place finish in 2010. His impressive palmares also includetwo editions of the Clasica San Sebastian, one Paris-Nice and four stage wins in the Spanish race, four Spanish time trial championships, and stage victories in Romandie, the Basque Country, Down Under and the mountains jersey in the 2014 Vuelta.


In 2015, Sanchez won gold in the road race at the European Games in Baku and bronze in the time trial. He worked for Aru and was close to a stage win in the Giro d'Italia as he was second in the long time trial. He was fourth in the Spanish Time Trial Championships and then joined Aru in the Vuelta and joined the Spanish team for the Worlds in Richmond. He also finished fifth in the Volta ao Algarve and the Vuelta a Murcia, 13th in the Tour Down Under and 18th in the Tour of the Basque Country.


His previous teams were Liberty (2004-2006), Caisse d'Epargne (2007-2010), Rabobank (2011-2012), Belkin (2013) and Caja Rural-RGA (2014).



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