January 20, 2005
Sanchez in lead down under
Luis Sanchez of Liberty Seguros went on a 20-kilometer flyer with Belgium's Johan van Summeren, and took Thursday's stage and the overall leader's jersey at the Tour Down Under.
Liberty Seguros manager Marino Lejarreta, winner of the 1982 Vuelta a España, hailed Sanchez as a rising star of world cycling.
"He is one of the best talents in Spain," Lejarreta said. "It's only his second year, but even in his first year as a professional he did things that showed he has amazing class and potential.
"Like Miguel, he still has to improve his climbing, but it is early in his career. You could say they are twins in some ways."
Stuart O'Grady, who rode near the front all day, was outnumbered by a group of Sanchez' Liberty Seguros teammates, who covered O'Grady every time he tried to make a move.
"I was pretty marked there at the end," he said. "I had quite a few goes with young Gene Bates to get away, but constantly had two or three Liberty guys on the back wheel. It makes it a bit hard."
Robbie McEwen, who won the tour's first two stages, was among about half the field that lost more than a half-hour on the day.
The Quickstep team had to "run laps" today; after every team rider (including Aussie Michael Rogers) missed a key breakaway, the team had to do 100 extra kms as punishment.