Road

Sánchez aims for Tour podium over Olympic repeat

Samuel Sánchez says he will focus on a run at the Tour de France podium rather than another gold medal

Defending Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez says he will focus on a run at the Tour de France podium rather than another gold medal with the London Games looming next season.

Sánchez earned a Tour podium trip this year with the King of the Mountains jersey and a stage win, but he believes that a spot among the top-3 is within his reach for 2012.

2010 Tour de France stage 15, Samuel Sánchez. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

“My objective will be the Tour,” Sánchez told the Spanish TV Teledeportes. “The Olympics are a one-day race and you cannot bet the entire season on it because it can end up as a disaster.”

The Euskaltel-Euskadi captain says reaching the Tour podium with the climber’s jersey only fuels his ambitions for the 2012 Tour.

“For a cyclist, the Tour is the maximum,” he said. “In the Olympics, you cross the line and defend the colors of your country. The route this year in London doesn’t suit me and the goal is to reach the Tour podium.

“If they told me that things in 2012 will go as they did this year, I’ld sign up for that,” he continued. “It was a good Tour for me and my team, we were on the final podium and we won a stage. I had a bad day on the Galibier to lose options for the podium, but this year, I have to be on the same line and the podium can be within reach. I will fight to be in the battle. Contador is there for the win, because he has the experience.”

With the Tour and Olympics packed in so close together, Sánchez says he will skip both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. His early season schedule will include Spanish racing, with the Ruta del Sol, Vuelta a Murcia and the Vuelta al País Vasco as his spring goals.