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Luis León Sánchez Gil (born 24 November 1983) is a Spanish road bicycle racer, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Astana.[2] Sánchez's major achievements include winning the overall classifications of the 2009 Paris–Nice and the 2005 Tour Down Under, as well as the one-day race Clásica de San Sebastián in 2010 and 2012. He also has 4 Tour de France stage victories to his palmares and is a four-time Spanish National Time Trial Champion. He is a time trial specialist and has improved his climbing skills over the course of his career.

Luis León Sánchez
Luis Leon Sanchez - Vuelta a España 2015.png
Sánchez at the 2015 Vuelta a España
Personal information
Full nameLuis León Sánchez Gil
NicknameLulu, Luisle
Born (1983-11-24) 24 November 1983 (age 35)
Mula, Spain
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Weight73 kg (161 lb; 11 st 7 lb)[1]
Team information
Current teamAstana
Rider typeAll-rounder
Professional team(s)
2004–2006Liberty Seguros
2007–2010Caisse d'Epargne
2014Caja Rural–Seguros RGA
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
4 individual stages (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Vuelta a España
Mountains classification (2014)
1 TTT stage (2019)

Stage races

Tour Down Under (2005)
Paris–Nice (2009)

One-day races and Classics

National Time Trial Championships
(2008, 2010–2012)
European Games Road Race (2015)
Clásica de San Sebastián (2010, 2012)
Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli (2017)

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Mula, he is also known as Lulu Sanchez. Leon is not his surname but he carries it as a middle name as a mark of respect to his grandfather originally, but since late 2006 also as a tribute to his eldest brother, Leon Sanchez, who died in a motorbike accident. His younger brother, Pedro León Sánchez Gil, is a professional footballer, playing for La Liga side SD Eibar. His other brother, Antonio Leon Sanchez, plays indoor football. He is not related to fellow Spanish cyclist Samuel Sanchez.


Early careerEdit

Sánchez rode for team Liberty Seguros from 2004 until 2006, with his major results being overall victories in the 2005 Tour Down Under, and podium positions in the 2006 edition of the same race, and the Vuelta a Castilla y León.

Caisse d'Epargne (2007–10)Edit

In 2007, he moved to the Caisse d'Epargne team following the collapse of the Liberty Seguros–Würth team in the wake of the Operación Puerto doping case. In his first season with the team, he won the Vuelta a Mallorca, and finished third in Paris–Nice after winning Stage 6.

The 2008 season saw Sánchez win another stage of Paris–Nice, this time finishing fifth overall. He claimed the Spanish National Time Trial Championship for the first time. He also rode his second Tour de France, and won Stage 7 after counterattacking, having been in a breakaway that was caught by the peloton.

Sánchez won the 2009 Tour Méditerranéen, and the following month won Paris–Nice after winning Stage 7 in a dominant fashion. He also won stages of the Vuelta al País Vasco and Tour du Haut Var, and took victory on Stage 8 of the Tour de France on his way to finishing 26th overall.

The 2010 season was Sánchez's most successful to date. He showed strong form in the early part of the season, finishing second in the Tour Down Under and winning the fifth stage. This was followed with another second place, in the Volta ao Algarve, after he won the final time trial. Sánchez attempted to defend his Paris–Nice title, but finished second overall, eleven seconds behind Alberto Contador. Sánchez then won the overall classification and a stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe in April. He recorded a fourth place in the Volta a Catalunya, and reclaimed his National Time Trial Championship title. At the 2010 Tour de France, Sánchez finished second on Stage nine after being in the breakaway, and went on to finish eleventh overall (later revised to tenth after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title), his best result to date in the Tour. Following the Tour, Sánchez took his biggest one-day race victory by winning the Clasica de San Sebastian. Sánchez also rode the Vuelta a Espana, and finished tenth overall after a strong final week.

Rabobank (2011–2013)Edit

Sanchez at the 2011 Tour de France.

Sánchez joined Dutch team Rabobank for the 2011 season. Once again he won the national time trial championships in 2011. He also won Stage 9 of the Tour de France, but was unable to repeat his high overall placing of 2010, managing only 57th overall. Likewise, he rode the Vuelta a Espana and finished 53rd overall.

Remaining with Rabobank into 2012,[3] Sánchez won Stage 6 of Paris–Nice after a long breakaway with veteran Jens Voigt, his fourth stage victory in the event.[4] He also won two consecutive stages of the Tour de Romandie, but sprinted irregularly on the third stage where he took the win over Lotto–Belisol's Gianni Meersman, almost pushing him in the barriers on the right side, but the commissaires judged the sprint to be legal.[5] He led the race going into the final time trial, but put in a poor ride and dropped to tenth overall. Sánchez won the National Time Trial Championships yet again in 2012. He won the Tour de France's Stage 14, which included two category 1 climbs. He was in a breakaway with 4 other riders including the Slovak Peter Sagan (Liquigas–Cannondale) when he launched a solo attack 11.5 km (7.1 mi) away from the finish line to take the solo victory with a margin of 47 seconds on the chasers.[6] Sánchez came close to a second victory on Stage 18 after he and Nicolas Roche attacked from the peloton in the final 10 km, overhauled the breakaway group and looked to have held off the chasing peloton only for Mark Cavendish to sprint past the pair in the final 200 metres. On the following stage, Sánchez set the third fastest time in the time trial, with only the final two riders to set a time, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, beating Sánchez.

Sanchez at the 2012 Tour de France

Sánchez was selected to represent Spain in the Olympic road race and time trial. His time trial was wrecked by two mechanical problems, including losing his chain as he left the start ramp. He went on to win the Clásica de San Sebastián, with a strong solo attack over the closing kilometres, while his teammates Mollema and Gesink disrupted the chase. He resisted to the peloton's return during his 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) solo ordeal, never getting more than 20 seconds of an advantage over the group.[7]

In 2013,[8] Rabobank left cycling as a sponsor and the team became Blanco Pro Cycling.[9] At the beginning of February, the team decided to suspend Sanchez indefinitely, saying that they will investigate the past relationship between the rider and Eufemiano Fuentes, a doctor under trial for providing athletes with doping substances and performing blood transfusions.[10] After a few weeks, Sanchez was reinstated in the team, and returned to race in the 2013 Tour of Belgium, where he won a stage. For 2013, Sanchez planned to skip the Tour and focus on the Vuelta.[11]

Caja Rural (2014)Edit

In October 2013, Belkin Pro Cycling announced that Sánchez would be dropped from the team as a result of accusations linking him to the Operación Puerto doping case.[12] In December, it was announced that Sánchez would join the Caja Rural–Seguros RGA team for 2014.[13]

Astana (2015–)Edit

In August 2014, Astana announced that they had signed Sánchez on an initial one-year deal for the 2015 season.[14]

In June 2015, he competed in the inaugural European Games, for Spain in cycling. He earned a gold medal in Men's road race and a bronze in Men's time trial.

Major resultsEdit

2nd Road race, National Junior Road Championships
2nd Road race, National Junior Road Championships
2nd Time trial, National Junior Road Championships
1st Stage 3 Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas
1st Stage 1 Vuelta a Asturias
2nd Time trial, National Road Championships
5th Circuito de Getxo
10th Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
1st   Overall Tour Down Under
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 3
1st Stage 3 (ITT) Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas
4th Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st   Young rider classification Paris–Nice
2nd Overall Tour Down Under
2nd Overall Vuelta a Castilla y León
3rd Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st   Overall Vuelta a Mallorca
2nd Time trial, National Road Championships
3rd Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 6
7th Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st   Time trial, National Road Championships
Tour de France
1st Stage 7
  Combativity award Stage 7
3rd Overall Critérium International
5th Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 7
8th Overall Tour Down Under
1st   Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 7
1st   Overall Tour Méditerranéen
1st Stage 8 Tour de France
1st Stage 1 Tour du Haut Var
2nd Time trial, National Road Championships
5th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 1
6th Overall Tour de Picardie
6th GP Ouest–France
8th Clásica de Almería
1st   Time trial, National Road Championships
1st   Overall Circuit de la Sarthe
1st Stage 1
1st Clásica de San Sebastián
2nd Overall Volta ao Algarve
1st Stage 5 (ITT)
2nd Overall Tour Down Under
1st Stage 5
2nd Overall Paris–Nice
3rd UCI World Ranking
4th Overall Volta a Catalunya
4th Clásica de Almería
7th Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
9th Overall Vuelta a España
10th Overall Tour de France
1st   Time trial, National Road Championships
1st Stage 9 Tour de France
6th Overall Tour of Beijing
8th Overall Volta ao Algarve
1st   Time trial, National Road Championships
1st Clásica de San Sebastián
1st Stage 14 Tour de France
1st Stage 6 Paris–Nice
1st Stage 2 Vuelta a Castilla y León
10th Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Stages 3 & 4
National Road Championships
2nd Time trial
3rd Road race
2nd Overall Tour of Belgium
1st Stage 5
2nd Overall Tour de l'Ain
1st Stage 3
Vuelta a España
1st   Mountains classification
  Combativity award Stages 13, 14, 16 & 18
1st Stage 3 Vuelta a Castilla y León
2nd Overall La Tropicale Amissa Bongo
1st Stage 1
2nd Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia
3rd Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
4th Road race, National Road Championships
8th Overall Tour of Turkey
8th Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana
European Games
1st   Road race
3rd   Time trial
1st Stage 2 (TTT) Vuelta a Burgos
4th Time trial, National Road Championships
5th Overall Volta ao Algarve
5th Vuelta a Murcia
1st Stage 1 Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 2 Volta ao Algarve
2nd Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
4th Vuelta a Murcia
10th Road race, UEC European Road Championships
  Combativity award Stage 9 Vuelta a España
1st Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli
4th Overall Volta ao Algarve
1st Vuelta a Murcia
2nd Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
4th Road race, National Road Championships
4th Overall Tour of Almaty
1st Stage 1
5th Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
5th Overall Route d'Occitanie
8th Overall Tour of the Alps
1st Stage 4
8th Overall Tour Down Under
8th Overall Tour of Guangxi
1st   Overall Vuelta a Murcia
1st   Points classification
1st Stage 2
1st Stage 2 Tour de Suisse
1st Stage 1 (TTT) Vuelta a España
2nd Road race, National Road Championships
2nd GP Miguel Induráin
4th Overall Tour Down Under
9th Overall Paris–Nice
10th Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Grand Tour general classification results timelineEdit

Grand Tour 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
  Giro d'Italia 35 43 25
  Tour de France 108 62 26 10 57 64 48 DNF DNF
  Vuelta a España DNF 72 9 53 - DNF 56 33 26 32 23
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish


  1. ^ a b "Astana – Pro Team". Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Astana Pro Team presented renewed roster for 2019". Astana. Apgrade. 16 December 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Rabobank Cycling Team (RAB) – NED". UCI World Tour. Union Cycliste Internationale. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Paris – Nice 2012 : Etape 6, Résultat – Luis Leon Sanchez bat Jens Voigt au sprint, Wiggins toujours leader". (in French). 9 March 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  5. ^ Abraham, Richard (27 April 2012). "Luis Leon Sanchez sprints to victory in Romandie". Cycling Weekly. IPC Media Limited. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  6. ^ Westemeyer, Susan (15 July 2012). "Sanchez saves Rabobank's Tour with stage win in Foix". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "Clásica San Sebastián sees Luis León Sánchez bounce back from Olympic disappointment". Velo Nation. Velo Nation LLC. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Former Rabobank (RAB) – NED". UCI World Tour. Union Cycliste Internationale. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Cycling team's reaction to new start —". Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ "Team Blanco suspend Luis Leon Sanchez". CyclingNews. Future Publishing Limited. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Luis Leon Sanchez niet in Tour, wel Vuelta". wielerflits (in Dutch). 27 May 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Belkin drops Sanchez amid possible Operation Puerto link". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Luis Léon Sánchez signs with Caja Rural". Future plc. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  14. ^ Farrand, Stephen (1 August 2014). "Transfers: Astana signs Boom, Sanchez, Rosa and Malacarne". Retrieved 3 August 2014.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Iván Gutiérrez
Spanish National Time Trial

Succeeded by
Alberto Contador
Preceded by
Alberto Contador
Spanish National Time Trial

Succeeded by
Jonathan Castroviejo