Sanchez opens account on last day

Just when it seemed Samuel Sanchez was never going to win as a pro, the Euskaltel pro wins three tim

Just when it seemed Samuel Sanchez was never going to win as a pro, the Euskaltel pro wins three tim
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Barring one or two criteriums, the 2004 European season ended on the Montjuich mountain that stands over Barcelona on Sunday afternoon. The crowds may have come out to see and acclaim Vuelta winner Roberto Heras and new world champion Oscar Freire, but the two-stage hill-climb on the crag that stands over the Mediterranean city ended up being dominated by Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez. The 26-year-old Basque offered a moment of celebration at the end of several dismal months for his success-starved team by winning both the road and time trial events on the Montjuich. Surprisingly, for a rider who is rated not far behind Euskaltel team leader Iban Mayo in terms of talent, those two wins and the overall success that came with them were his first after four years as a pro. Finally, after numerous close encounters with the top step of the podium, Sanchez was able to point to the sky as he crossed the line and dedicate a win to his late mother. 1 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel 1.04.04 2 Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel 0.16 3 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.20 4 Eladio Jimenez (Spa) CV-Kelme 0.40 5 Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Illes Balears 0.47 6 Josep Jufre (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 7 I¤aki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel 1.09 8 Jorge Ferrio (Spa) Costa de Almeria 1.14 9 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Phonak 1.18 10 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval 1.22
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