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Vainqueur du Jour!

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Get to know Luis Leon Sánchez Gil!

Luis Leon Sánchez Gil celebrated his first ever Tour stage win today, attacking on the descent some nine kilometers from the finish. His descending speed gave him a gap he held all the way to the line, despite the effort of Filippo Pozzato to bridge.

Professional since 2004, the 24 year old Sánchez is riding his second Tour de France. From 2004-2006, he rode for Liberty Seguros, after joining ONCE as a stagiaire. This year marks his second season with Caisse d'Épargne. Sánchez's most notable results include the overall at the Tour Down Under in 2005, a stage win at the 2007 Paris-Nice, and a stage win at the 2008 Paris-Nice. He likes him some Paris-Nice, that Sánchez! He is also the current Spanish national champion in the crono. Little wonder that he managed to stay away to the finish alone.

In his post-race interview, Sánchez dedicated his victory to his older brother who was killed in a motorcycle accident three years ago. The two brothers only 18 months apart in age had a close relationship and cycled together until they were 21. Luis Leon and his surviving brother, who plays soccer in the première division, dedicate all their victories to their lost brother.

The attack today that saw Sánchez ride free of the field did not come from a team plan. Indeed, as he explained, the principal aim of the team remains to deliver either Alejandro Valverde or Oscar Periero to Paris in Yellow. Given this ambition, it is not possible to contest every stage, but Sánchez saw an opportunity for a success today, and gave the team its second stage win. Though he would like someday to return to the Tour to contest the overall, Sánchez admits that he has much to learn before that day comes. For now, he is happy to ride with talents like Valverde and Pereiro and learn as much as possible. His strength is the crono, but he hopes in time to develop into a strong climber for the high mountains.

Bonne Chance Luis Leon!

Oh, and he's a bit of a hotty. Just sayin'