Carlos Sastre is the highest ranked Spaniard at his home Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, currently holding fourth spot. Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson discovered how a new approach is fueling the Team CSC rider's Grand Tour ambitions.
Team CSC's Carlos Sastre is tackling the tough climbs of Spain's country side and crossing the finish line with a smile. It's all a part of the 32 year-old's new approach to taking on the world's biggest races. "When I say that I am passing it well, I mean I have taken this Tour different from previous races of these characteristics," he explained. "This time I have taken it with the intention to try to enjoy, to be more with the people, to gather the fruits of the fans' affection after so many years of work, to be thankful to them that they are lining the road and highways supporting us.
"I feel like a privileged person," he added. "I like my profession, I do not have a health problems, I have a team that supports me and I am fighting to try to be the best I can be in the Vuelta a España, that is the tour of my country."
It's this approach which has Sastre placed in a credible fourth place on general classification. It's this approach which Sastre hopes will earn him victory when the professional peloton reaches Madrid on September 23. "But that does not mean that I don't suffer," he added. "I am suffering like always, I am trying to fight as always and I am going to continue doing it until we arrive in Madrid."
Currently sitting 3.02 minutes behind overall leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Sastre believes the 10 stages already run have had little impact on who will stand atop the rostrum in Madrid. "As I said at the beginning of the race, I believe that at this Vuelta a España there is not a single day in which you can be relaxed for a minute," he explained, referring to this year's route. "Perhaps there is no decisive stage, with a sufficient mountain so that great differences can be made, but [its length is] sufficient to make enough damage. Until we arrive at Madrid there is nothing gained, nor nothing lost.
Read the full Carlos Sastre interview.