Contador, Freire lead Spain to worlds; Sanchez in, but may sit

Samuel Sánchez will be last-minute decision, while Luis León Sánchez misses out

MADRID (AFP) — Three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Katusha) and newly-crowned Vuelta a Esaña champion Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) will lead the Spanish team at UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands this month.

The seven other riders to make the Spanish men’s road team are Dani Moreno (Katusha), Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

The list is not definitive, with a decision to be taken on Sánchez’s participation to be made after the ongoing Tour of Britain. With the 2008 Olympic champion recovering from injuries suffered in the Tour de France, Egoi Martinez is waiting in the wings as a replacement.

“We are not the favorites,” said Spanish federation coach Jose Luis de Santos. “As far as I’m concerned, there are two teams which are stronger than us: Belgium and Italy.

“But that’s not to say we don’t have ambitions.”

Contador, who on Sunday won his second Vuelta just one month after returning from a two-year doping ban, will race the time trial along with Castroviejo. Spanish national time trial champion Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) did not make the selection.