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“The pink jersey has the highest priority. That’s what we came to the Giro for and I cannot pursue my personal goals before [securing it]. We’re here to win the race and it’s the most important thing,” Samuel S...

Photo: Sirotti








24.05.2014 @ 10:04 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Samuel Sanchez has never hidden his gratitude for BMC since the American team threw him a lifeline and saved his professional career last February, but his first important campaign as Cadel Evans’ luxury domestique wasn’t off to a perfect start. The former Euskaltel leader was expected to be the last man backing the Australian leader in the mountains, but so far injuries sustained in the massive pile-up over a week ago prevented him from living up to such expectations.


Sanchez was still licking his wounds while restless Steve Morabito took over a control and safely led Evans through first obstacles when the peloton hit the mountains last weekend. Originating from Switzerland BCM rider was a quiet hero of first two mountain stages of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, but the 36-year old Spaniard, usually strongest in grand tours’ final weeks, aims to bounce back and help the former Tour de France champion taking back the coveted maglia rosa, stripped off the BMC captain by Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) following his outstanding performance in Thursday’s individual time trial.


“Basically, riding for BMC is not very different from riding for other teams apart from the fact, that we have never been team-mates with Cadel Evans before and there’s a little more pressure from media,” Sanchez told Marca.


Despite playing a role of undisputed captain for many seasons at Euskaltel, the 36-year old Spaniard adapted to taking different kind of responsibilities on the road smoothly. However, he admitted that accepting a lower position in team’s hierarchy had some impact on his mantallity.


“It changes a lot, but I try to play this role in a best possible way. I explained my team-mates that is was strange to me to change my status [within a team] and they understood. Cadel knows what I’ve been through. He knows that six months ago we were still rivals while other riders regarded me a leader.”


“We have the same goals, but it helps me a lot. He’s a very attentive rider, always focused. We’re pretty much alike. We’re reserved, quiet.. Still, he the person always keeping feet firmly on the ground.”


Sanchez agrees with general opinion that the first important test for the Giro contenders, Thursday’s 42-kilometer long time trial, rather brought some important indications than sorted out the general classification, while the race is yet to be decided in a brutal final week of competition.


While the 36-year old Spaniard admits that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in last year’s Tour de France disposition would surpass all the field, he doesn’t expect the young Colombian to hit the top form on time. Instead, Sanchez points out to Uran and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2R La Mondiale) as biggest threats on their way to reclaim the pink jersey.


“If Nairo was at the same level as during the [2013] Tour de France, he would be unbeatable I think. But this is the Giro and it’s just not him.”


“We all have seen that Pozzovivo is very strong and Uran still hasn’t told his last word too.”


While Sanchez didn’t completely rule out pursuing his own goals in the Italian grand tour, he admitted that winning the general classification with Evans stands above any other ambitions in the hierarchy.


“The pink jersey has the highest priority. That’s what we came to the Giro for and I cannot pursue my personal goals before [securing it]. We’re here to win the race and it’s the most important thing,” Sanchez concluded.



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