Spaniard Alberto Contador was not allowed to ride the Tour de France as defending champion, but said that having his fellow countryman Carlos Sastre win this year's race was the next best thing that could have happened.
"I am glad that a rider like Sastre wins. He improves every year. Not spectacular, but efficient," Contador said in a statement that offered up his congratulations to the CSC-Saxo Bank leader. "It is the crown on his career. Moreover, Carlos Sastre rode very intelligently this Tour. He knew what he wanted and he worked for it from the beginning."
The Team Astana leader was impressed with Sastre's attack on Alpe d'Huez, where Sastre escaped from the group and gained more than two minutes on his team-mate Fränk Schleck and closest competitor, Cadel Evans. That move won Sastre the yellow jersey, which, against all odds, he defended in the final time trial on Saturday.
"Today he rode the best time trial of his life," Contador said after the showdown. "He could already celebrate before reaching the finish line. I congratulate him and wish that he enjoys the stage to Paris."
Contador's Astana team was not invited to the Tour this year despite the squad having re-tooled after suffering multiple doping scandals during last year's event.