Giro d’Italia: Sastre “looking forward to the mountains”
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Sastre “looking forward to the mountains”

by Ben Atkins at 10:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Former Tour winner now looks to his favourite terrain

carlos sastreAs part of the 56-man breakaway on stage 11, Cervélo TestTeam captain Carlos Sastre wrested his way back into overall contention after a disastrous first week. The Spaniard now looks forward to the terrain where he traditionally excels, the mountains, where the race will arrive at the weekend.

He missed the move in yesterday’s stage that saw most of his overall rivals get away in the final 10km, but luckily for the 2008 Tour de France winner they only managed to get 10 seconds. “We’ve seen that the Italian riders and Vinokourov are going strong and that they’re not letting up on any day,” he said. “They attacked in the last part to win a few more seconds. I wasn’t there with them as even though I was up in front, the road got narrower and when the small breakaway got ahead, I didn’t have the chance to react."

Rather than work too hard to try to pull the ten-man group back, as Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) did, Sastre preferred to take it easy in the peloton and let other teams handle the chase. "I saw that there were a lot of riders from the sprinters’ teams, who in theory had to control the race to reach the final sprint,” he said.

Despite the last few days’ racing being on relatively flat roads, the poor weather and unusual racing has taken its toll on the peloton, says the Spaniard. “I could tell that everyone was tired after the efforts of the last few days and there was a quiet start,” he said. “Then the sprinters’ teams started working to try and reach the sprint finish. In the end, that wasn’t what happened, but it was another nice finish for the spectators and it didn’t change things as far as we’re concerned”

After today’s relatively flat stage along the Adriatic coast – although it does turn inland to take in two climbs in the last 70km – the Giro heads north towards the mountains. Saturday’s stage will see a rare ascent of the legendary Monte Grappa, the scene of a great deal of action in World War 1, while Sunday finishes atop arguably the hardest climb in Italy: Monte Zoncolan. Tuesday's stage sees a mountain time trial up to the summit of the Plan de Corones, taking in more unsurfaced roads, which many feel is even tougher than the Zoncolan.

While many in the peloton will be viewing the next three stages with dread, Sastre can’t wait to get onto his preferred terrain. “I’m looking forward to getting to the mountain stages which is where I think this Giro will be decided," he said.

Sastre currently sits in 8th place, 7’09 behind race leader Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), but is first in the list of top favourites for the overall victory. How close he will come to winning this Giro d’Italia will depend on how things go this weekend.


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