From Velo News comes a well received story from my neck of the woods: Samuel Sanchez is ditching his Tour wanderlust and is going back to what made him so successful in 07: Pais Vasco and The Vuelta a Espana. All together now:
As you can see form the article, he's not totally happy with his decision to leave his affair with the Tour de France but he recognizes what's best for him and his team and that's home cooking. Ah yes, that Tour, she's a hottie, but in the morning she'll just kick you in the head. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, Samu had to learn the hard way to let her pass by.
As for the rest of his schedule, he's not saying but I wouldn't be shocked if he does the same thing he did in 07 to such success:
- Warm-up with Comunitat Valenciana, then Paris-Nice (where he got 9th in 07 and could easily improve on that), Pais Vasco (3rd in 07), The Ardennes triad: Amstel (15th), La Fleche (26th) and LBL (12th), Catalunya (15th), Euskal Bizklel, San Sebastien, Burgos (Vuelta prep), Vuelta a Espana (3rd), Worlds, Lombardia (3rd).
As for the Vuelta itself, I can imagine a mostly similar field as 07 had: No Sastre, but with Sam San, Menchov, Evans, and Mosquera, Anton, etc. (Gesink? Kreuziger?) with the wild card(s) being what Astana and Contador do. With it very possible that the mountain stages not being as tough as this year Samu will be one of the principle favorites. I'm cool with that.