Carlos Sastre rides his final race in Oviedo, now officially retired
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Carlos Sastre rides his final race in Oviedo, now officially retired

by Shane Stokes at 7:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spaniard beats Juan Jose Cobo and others in farewell event

Carlos SastreThe 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre today competed in his final professional race, a month and a half after he announced that he was retiring from the sport. The 36 year old Geox-TMC rider rode an elimination criterium held in Oviedo, Spain, where he was honoured by organisers and the public.

Sastre was first to the line in the event, ahead of Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Eustaltel Euskadi) and former Giro d’Italia champion Stefano Garzelli.

The day’s contests were broader than simply being about the professional competitors, with a children’s race getting things started. It was followed by a parade of riders decked out in vintage style, amongst them Chechu Rubiera. The first of the pro events was the points race, where Garzelli won two sprints and took the victory ahead of Sastre and Samuel Sanchez. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) also took part.

Euskaltel-Euskadi won the team test, with Jorge Azanza, Egoi Martínez and Samuel Sánchez proving quicker that the Geox-TMC trio of Sastre, De la Fuente and Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo.

The latter also took part in a bike vs car contest between himself and Spanish rally Champion Berti Hevia; Cobo came out best.

Sastre was quickest in the final race of the day, the elimination contest. Garzelli and Sanchez were eliminated first, then the former Tour winner beat Cobo to the line.

Today brings to an end a fourteen year pro career which began with the ONCE team in 1998. He moved to CSC Tiscali in 2002 and remained with that setup until leaving after winning the 2008 Tour de France. Two years at the Cervélo Test Team followed, then one with Geox TMC.

During that time, he finished first, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and tenth in the Tour de France, and also clocked up nine top-ten finishes in the Giro and the Vuelta. He was second three times in the Italian and Spanish events. He also won three stages in the Tour, two in the Giro and one in the Vuelta, as well as the 2000 King of the Mountains title.

Sastre probably doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves, given that incredible Grand Tour history plus his consistency over three weeks.

In September he said that Geox TMC’s successful Vuelta a España made his decision to retire easier. “The moment has arrived to end this phase,” he said then. “Having with me the winner of the Vuelta and winning the team title was the best climax to my career. Next year I will begin a new stage, although I don’t yet know what I will do.”

He was accompanied by his young son Yerai today. The latter did a lap to celebrate his father's career, and saw firsthand the affection of the public and his fellow riders for one of Spain's best-ever riders.

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