Carlos Sastre cautious about Giro d'Italia chances
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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Carlos Sastre cautious about Giro d'Italia chances

by Bjorn Haake at 2:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

Carlos Sastre is cautious about his chances for the Giro d'Italia, which starts this Saturday. The Spaniard says his lack of racing makes him doubt his chances. He is also not sure yet whether to ride the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España later in the year.

Sastre held a press conference shortly before the Giro d'Italia gets underway in the Netherlands. "I come here with the doubts of not having raced much to tackle this Giro with any kind of guarantees," Sastre said according to europapress.es.

But he insisted that he arrived "fresh both mentally and physically." Sastre only raced the Volta a Cataluña and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, although not quite voluntarily. "The volcanic cloud prevented me from racing other major classics. In the end, I arrive calmly, because I know I did everything I could to be racing well."

This is a striking difference to last year's Tour de France, where he was still sorting things out with his new Cervélo TestTeam. "I started the Tour de France physically and mentally exhausted." This led him to stay out of competitions for a total of eight months.

Despite his long break from competition and the accompanying uncertainty how he measures up to his rivals, Sastre remains optimistic. Optimism that he draws from last year's third place in the Giro, with number one and two, Denis Menchov and Franco Pellizotti, not taking the start this year.

"I do have some hope for this race, thanks to my performance from last year. This event has created a lot of interest internationally and I am again looking to place on the podium, this time for real." Last year, Sastre moved up after the disqualification of Danilo Di Luca. "I will fight to be in the final photo," he added.

A tough route

Sastre admitted that the route is quite difficult and contains four time trials, which is not his specialty. He is not a sprinter, either, but does not mind the seven flat stages in the beginning. "This allows me to adapt to the necessary race rhythm."

Then the Giro starts with long and tough stages. "The final of the race is impressive and really hard, both for the number of climbs and the expected attacks."

Despite the time trials, which are short, Sastre is certain that "the winner will be a climber. There are five stages with difficult finals, which come after various marathon days of 200 kilometers on average. We won't be resting much."

Sastre said that Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso would be his main rivals. "Italy has someone each year who is doing well, but Evans arrives in form, is very experienced in Grand Tours and is the World Champion." The Spaniard also added Alexander Vinokourov and Bradley Wiggins to the danger men.

"[Wiggins] is a rider who defended himself well in the mountains in the Tour last year. He has a strong team, especially in the team time trial."

Tour or Vuelta?

Sastre emphasized that for now he concentrates on the Giro and still hasn't made a decision about his second Grand Tour of the year.

"I don't know if I race the Tour or the Vuelta, they both seem to be equal to me. If I go to France it will be in knowing that I have recovered [from the Giro] for sure and I can do the Tour well. I don't want to repeat last year's mistakes, when I arrived at the race very tired."

Sastre won the Tour in 2008 and with it having much more recognition than the Vuelta, many will hope Sastre races in France in July. But he also knows the competition will be very hard.

"Now with riders like Contador or Andy Schleck, they will make it very difficult for me. You have to be realistic and intelligent to compete. I am 35 years old and I need to choose races where I can do well."

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