Giro d’Italia: Sastre “lucky” after ill-timed puncture
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Sastre “lucky” after ill-timed puncture

by Ben Atkins at 4:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Sastre has a little bit of luck

Cervélo TestTeam captain Carlos Sastre came close to losing valuable time today when he suffered a puncture just as the peloton began to accelerate. Already having lost time behind the early stage crashes in the Netherlands, the Spaniard could ill-afford to give up any more.

Just as the peloton hit the lower slopes of the second climb of the day to Spolverina, the pace increased dramatically in the vain pursuit of eventual stage-winner Matthew Lloyd (OmegaPharma-Lotto). Just as this happened Sastre punctured, but luckily he had British teammate Daniel Lloyd by his side to quickly give him a wheel and the team was able to pace him back to the peloton.

"There's never a calm day at the Giro," said Cervélo TestTeam director Alex Sans Vega. "The team did a great job to save the day today. We had Daniel Lloyd right there next to Carlos and he was able to quickly give him his wheel. Lloyd's job during this first week or so is to always be there for Carlos, whether it's to keep him in good position, protect him from the wind or to help him in a situation like what we had today. Then we had four riders from the team to pace Carlos back to the bunch."

Sastre himself was relaxed about the event, more concerned about the multiple crashes that once again were a feature of the stage. “Today’s stage was very hectic from the outset,” he said. “We had to deal with pretty strong headwinds that meant the breakaway took longer to take place. After that there was not a single relaxed moment as it started raining, making the road was dangerous, and every time that somebody took a fall, fifteen or twenty riders were involved.”

Thankfully, the 2008 Tour de France winner managed to avoid a repeat of the crash he suffered on stage 2, and paid tribute to his team’s efforts in keeping him in the race. “Luckily I’ve been able to escape the falls today,” he continued, “and I didn’t have any problems at all other than the puncture at the start of the penultimate climb. But my team mates were on hand, ready to help me and we were able to reach the head group without any difficulties, getting through another day with my options intact for this year’s Giro”

Other than being brought down on stage 2, Sastre also lost 37 seconds behind the crash that saw Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) lose the pink jersey that day; he also lost 46 seconds on stage 3 behind the split that robbed if from Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). On top of this he has lost a total of 1’03” in the two time trials of the race, leaving him in 20th place, 2’13” behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo).

The Spaniard is expected to take time from many riders when the race hits the high mountains but he can scarcely afford to lose any more in incidents like today’s.

"Carlos is feeling better every day. The pain that he experienced after his crash [on stage 2] is diminishing by the day, so he's very optimistic," said Sans Vega. "The motivation of the team remains high. We never let our heads hang low despite some bad luck in the first few days. Carlos is a type of leader who transmits a lot of confidence. And after our good team time trial, the mood is even higher.

“This Giro is just beginning."

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