Sastre back with batteries recharged, enthusiastic about Giro route
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Sastre back with batteries recharged, enthusiastic about Giro route

by Conal Andrews at 9:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Emotionally and physically exhausted after this year’s Tour de France, Carlos Sastre finally returned to competition over the weekend when he rode two criteriums. The first of those was the Criterium Ciudad de Oviedo, which he enjoyed despite rusty form. "I returned to take part because it was a tribute to Samuel Sanchez, a rider with whom I shared some good moments, including the Beijing Olympics,” he said.

“Despite the rain, we had the warmth of the crowd, and everyone enjoyed an intense day of cycling in which we had the opportunity to be with a bunch of kids of León, Asturias and Cantabria.”

Sastre grinned when he was asked how he felt, confessing that he was “not the best, but I had courage and I tried again and again, getting the prize for most aggressive rider. The most important thing of all is that I am very recovered after the long break that I made myself take after the Tour.”

This year’s Tour de France was the fourth Grand Tour in a row for the Spaniard. He won the 2008 Tour, placed third in the Vuelta a España two months later, then won two stages and took fourth overall in this year’s Giro d’Italia. All that, the stress of helping set up a new team plus the various obligations that he had to fulfil as the Tour winner meant that he was completely worn out when it came to the time to defend his title.

Sastre is now 34 years of age but he wants to prove once again that he’s a big player in cycling. He has yet to plan his programme for 2010, saying that he wants to see the route for the Vuelta a España before deciding what races to do, but confirmed that he does like the look of the Giro d’Italia.

“It is very attractive, with that last week marked by three mountain stages, almost in succession, with all those mythical summits such as the Gavia, the Mortiriolo, and the big summit finishes of the Zoncolan and Plan de Corones,” he said, relishing the thoughts of those climbs. “The time trial will be the final icing on a really tough Giro.

“It is a Giro that benefits the climbers, in which the sprinters will also have their opportunities. It will be a course that will be a lot harder than this year. There are eight stages exceeding 200 km and a marathon stage of 256, which in recent years only happens in this race," he said.

Decisions will be made when the Vuelta is launched but, looking at the route and at his reaction to it, it’s quite possible that his 2010 Grand Tour campaign will begin in Italy.


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