Astana's Sanchez 4th in Santos Tour Down Under final classification
ASTANA. KAZINFORM - The leader of Astana Pro Team Luis Leon Sanchez took a solid 4th place in the general classification of the Santos Tour Down Under. The first 2019 UCI WorldTour event ended today with an iconic stage 6 to the legendary climb Willunga Hill, which was climbed twice. Sanchez did his best in the final, he was always staying with the other favorites, but missed just a few seconds in the last hundred meters to reach the final GC podium, Kazinform has learnt from the club's press service.
"First of all I would like to thank my team for a great support during the whole week and, especially, today. Honestly, I can be happy with the result which I've got here. All the week long I felt really good, I had a full support from my teammates and, in general, I did this race in the best possible way. On the short climbs I felt myself really good, also today I think, I climbed well, but maybe for me this climb was a little bit too long. I was coming here in Australia thinking about the podium as the main objective, but ok. I was close to that, finished 4th and I can be satisfied. I am happy that I started this year in a good condition, because the second part of the last season was damaged by a crash at the Tour de France. Now, I hope to recover a bit after a hard week and I am looking forward to the next race on Sunday," said Luis Leon Sanchez.
Astana Pro Team took control over the race at the bottom of the final climb, placing well Luis Leon Sanchez in front of the group. There were many attacks in the last 2.5 km of the climb, while Sanchez was always up there with the leaders. With around 1.2 km to go the Australian Richie Porte made a decisive move to win the Willunga Hill stage for the sixth time in his career. A group of riders finished just behind him: Wout Poels was second, Daryl Impey did third, Rohan Dennis was 4th and Luis Leon Sanchez finished 5th just 6 seconds behind the stage winner. The Astana rider was close to the winner, but that was not enough to hit the overall podium: Sanchez became 4th in the general classification, missing just 2 seconds to the third place.
"We had a very good team work today. I think we can be proud with a great performance of all team members, helping in the best possible way to prepare the final for Luis Leon Sanchez. He gave his all on Willunga Hill, but missed a little bit, just a few seconds to be on the podium today. Anyway, here in Australia Astana showed itself as a very strong team," added Lars Michaelsen, sport director of Astana Pro Team.
Finally, it was Impey, who won the Santos Tour Down Under for the second time in a row with Porte second (+0.13) and Poels third (+0.17).