Carlos Sastre has confirmed that he will race the Giro d'Italia next season. The Cervélo TestTeam captain announced today that he confirmed his race program up to the Italian Grand Tour.
Winner of the 2008 Tour de France, Sastre had waited for the routes of all three Grand Tours to be announced before making a decision on which of the three-week races he would contest next season. Following the announcement of the route for the Vuelta a España on Wednesday, he has chosen the Giro as the first of his Grand Tour appearances for next year.
"After analyzing the routes of the three Grand Tours and discussing them with the Cervélo TestTeam sports directors, I’ve decided to participate in the Giro d’Italia," said Sastre on Saturday.
Sastre finished fourth at this year's Giro d'Italia, a result likely to become a third place finish after Danilo Di Luca's positive for CERA. Sastre also claimed two stage wins during the race at the summit finishes of Monte Petrano and Vesuvius.
He indicated that an improvement on his overall result would be the goal at next year's race. "Last year I had a great time at the Giro and I want to go back. The fact that I haven’t won this race gives me special motivation, and the route is very attractive for a rider with my characteristics. It is a really important opportunity," he said.
The Giro had formed part of Sastre's preparation for his Tour de France title defence last season. Despite his strong performance in Italy, he finished 17th overall at the French Grand Tour, 26:21 behind race winner Alberto Contador.
Although he is yet to confirm whether or not he will return to the Tour de France next season, Sastre will commence his 2010 season at the Volta a Catalunya in March. He will then participate in the Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race (April 18) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25), before the Giro starts on May 8.
"For the moment, I’ve only planned up to the Giro. I’ve got time to decide on the rest of my calendar and I want to do it according to how I feel. There’s no pressure about what to choose, and the next race I ride in will be because I feel ready to take on this new opportunity," said Sastre.
He will continue his preparations for the new season with his Cervélo teammates at a training camp in Portugal in January.