2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has announced that he has decided to retire at the end of the season after 15 years as a professional. The Spaniard, who is riding with Geox-TMC this year, announced his decision at a special press conference in Madrid.
“It’s time to end this cycle. Winning the Tour and being part of the winning team (at the Vuelta) were the best moments of my career. It’s time for a new stage in my life even if I don’t know what that will be at the moment,” an emotional Sastre said.
Sastre turned professional with the ONCE team in 1997. He was a pure climber and so had limited chance of victory but showed his stage race ability by finishing eighth in the 2000 Vuelta. He teamed up with Bjarne Riis at CSC in 2002 but their relationship was often difficult, as the documentary movie Overcoming revealed.
Sastre finished second in the 2005 Vuelta after winner Roberto Heras tested positive. He then finished all three grand tours in 2006, finishing third in the Tour de France and fourth in the Vuelta.
At the 2008 Tour de France, Sastre was a favourite for victory but so were Fränk and Andy Schleck, his teammates at CSC-Saxo Bank. Fränk Schleck took the yellow jersey on stage 15 but was not at his best and Sastre was given the green light to attack key rival Cadel Evans on the stage to L’Alpe d’Huez. He won the stage and gained 2:15 on Evans, enough to ensure victory in Paris.
Sastre rode for the Cervelo TestTeam in 2009 and 2010 before joining Geox-TMC this year. He struggled to be competitive at the Vuelta but generously helped teammate Juan Jose Cobo win overall. His last moment in the spotlight came on stage 20 of the Vuelta when he attacked alone and stayed away until two kilometres from the finish.
It is unclear if Sastre will race again after finishing 20th overall at the Vuelta.