"A guy who is going to leave a big mark on Spanish cycling, on world cycling" - JJ Rojas believes Pelayo Sanchez can be the future of Movistar Team

On his Giro d'Italia debut and his first Grand Tour since moving to Movistar Team from Burgos - BH, Pelayo Sanchez starred, taking a stage win in the opening week and getting close to a second with more impressive breakaway showings.

In conversation with AS, Movistar Team sports director and 22-time Grand Tour rider in his own right, Jose Joaquin Rojas admitted Sanchez's performance surprised even the team. "In part no one expected this level, it's true, but we knew that Pelayo had something because seeing the numbers he moved in the concentrations and when we signed him we already knew what he was capable of," the Spaniard explains. "Pelayo is growing and we don't know where he is at the top. Hopefully he hasn't found it yet and that he still has a lot to achieve."

"The virtue that Pelayo has is that if you leave him free he is capable of anything. I think he is a stage hunter, because when he has a little more pressure he may not like it as much, but he can be like a Bettini, who when he came to the Giro d'Italia marked four or five stages and where he put his eye and put the bullet. I don't know, something like that, but comparisons are hateful," Rojas continues, clearly impressed by what he's seen so far in the 24-year-old. "He is a guy who is going to leave a big mark on Spanish cycling, on world cycling, and we hope that he will always be with us."

In total, Movistar Team has a positive Giro d'Italia. Sanchez took a stage, Einer Rubio secured a top-10 finish and Nairo Quintana was bright and attacking in the third week with only Tadej Pogacar denying him victory on stage 15. "We came with expectations of winning a stage and we achieved it with Pelayo. We have been quite close with Nairo, again with Pelayo and then we have had a super strong Einer in the mountains, who perhaps has been weighed down a lot by the time trial handicap," reflects Rojas. "Despite this, we saw a great Einer who, if he improves his time trial, could be competing in a Grand Tour."

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