Carlos Sastre says he had taken the decision last year to stop in 2011
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Carlos Sastre says he had taken the decision last year to stop in 2011

by VeloNation Press at 5:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Video highlights of Spaniard’s career

Carlos SastreHaving announced the end to a 15 year professional career on Thursday, Carlos Sastre has said that he planned to walk away from the sport prior to the 2011 season.

“It is something I had already decided a year ago,” he stated, when confirming he would not race next season. “I made the decision a year ago, and I wanted to enjoy competing in 2011. It wasn't an easy start as my illnesses didn't allow me to enjoy it until halfway through the season, but the end was great".

Sastre had signed a one-year deal with the team for 2012. While he said that he was considering other offers, and indeed had the possibility to race with several teams, he was non-committal in recent weeks, saying that he was going to weigh things up with his family.

His statement suggests that it would have taken something very special for him to change his mind, and that he felt the time was right to call it a day.

Sastre won the Tour de France in 2008 and had a number of other very impressive results in Grand Tours during his career, finishing on the podium an additional three times. He also took stages in the Giro and the Tour.

For the past two seasons, he hasn’t performed at quite the same level, with part of this season being muted due to illness.

He went to the Vuelta a España as joint leader and hoping to put in a big performance, but wasn’t in his top form and ended up riding for his Geox TMC team-mate Juan Jose Cobo. Still, he said that he got a great deal of satisfaction from helping someone else from his team to triumph, and believed this brought things to a satisfactory end.

“Riding alongside the winner of the Vuelta and winning the team category was the best end to my career that I could have wished for,” he said. “I'm starting a new stage now, even though I don’t know what I’ll be doing.”

Talking at his press conference in Madrid, he paid tribute to three men who he said played big parts in his career, namely José Luis Pascua, Manolo Saiz and Bjarne Riis: He referred to Pascua as “one of the best trainers I’ve ever had, and was similarly complementary about the other two.

“Manolo was one of the people who showed me my limits, the hard work involved in cycling, the sacrifice and a lot of other things, for which I will be eternally grateful, as it gave me the chance to be in Riis' team, which together with my four years in the Once team, were the best years of my career,” he said.

“What I’ve always tried to do is be aware of what my virtues and limits are and to know how to use them to the full. I’ll be taking away every single experience, because this sport will always be a way of life for me and it has helped me to get through many things in my personal life.”

Here’s a video with some highlights of Sastre’s career. First published by, it shows key points in time including his 2008 Alpe d’Huez stage win plus his final overall victory in that year’s Tour.



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