CSC's Carlos Sastre will ride the Giro d'Italia in support of team leader Ivan Basso with the Spaniard a designated lieutenant to the Italian in the mountain stages according to team director Bjarne Riis. "It was Carlos who said he'd like to ride - he is willing to be a worker in the mountains with Iván, and his help could be decisive," said Riis.
Sastre and Basso are part of a very strong lineup for the loop of Italy, which starts with an individual time trial in Seraing, Belgium, this Saturday. With Bobby Julich, Jens Voigt, Volodimir Gustov, Giovanni Lombardi, Iñigo Cuesta, Michael Blaudzun and Nicki Soerensen completing the roster, it's a gun squad which will try and deliver their man Ivan to overall victory in Milan three weeks later.
Speaking of Sastre's participation and what it means to the team, Riis said, "It is a gift to include a rider such as Sastre in the Giro, but I only decided to do it because we agreed that it fits into his preparation for the season." Riis also said that he believes Basso is in "perfect form to win his first grand tour, and the team behind the Italian was "exceptionally strong".
Sastre, who took second overall in last year's Vuelta a Espana and turned 31 almost two weeks ago, said he decided to ride because he wanted to "return something to the team", and knew his help could be vital in continuing CSC's great season. "I will take it easy in the first part of the race and will put the bulk of the work in during the mountain stages," said Sastre. "Ivan has worked very hard to be ready for the Giro, something that I respect a lot. It was logical for me to offer to help him and the team," he added.