Spain sends decorated squad to London Olympics; Sanchez set to defend

Defending Olympic road race champ Samuel Sanchez has been given the official nod to defend in London

MADRID (AFP) – The reigning Olympic road race champion will defend his title at the London Games this summer, as the Spanish Cycling Federation has made its official team selection, and the decorated squad will include Beijing winner Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

The rest of the road race team will consist of three-time former world road race champion Oscar Freire (Katusha), former Vuelta a España and Flèche Wallonne champ Alejandro Valverde and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), and Luís León Sánchez (Rabobank).

Sánchez will also accompany multiple Spanish time-trial champion Luís León in the time-trial, the federation revealed.

“I think I have the best team possible,” said national team selector Jose Luis De Santos in a statement.

“They have experience of big events like the Olympics or international races; and from a human perspective, there are good enough relations between them, which is fundamental in an event like this.”

Nevertheless, De Santos admitted that in the time trial “we don’t have the level to finish on the podium against specialists like [Germany’s Tony] Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), [Switzerland’s Fabian] Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), or [Great Britain’s Bradley] Wiggins (Sky), as we saw last year [at the world championships].”