By Antonio J. Salmerón
Carlos Sastre will be in the CSC's training camp in Mallorca, Spain, January 8 to 18, where he will have time to contemplate his 2008 programme. On tap for the 32 year-old Spaniard is a possible ride in the Italian Grand Tour – the Giro d'Italia.
"It will be the first contact for 2008 among all the team-members, except for those of them who are going to race in the Tour Down Under, in Australia," the CSC leader commented yesterday.
The development of the new bikes, the delivery of new clothing and the riders' programmes are to be discussed during the gathering. Sastre will be accompanied by two countrymen: the veteran Iñigo Cuesta and the U-23 Joaquín Novoa.
Novoa, who has already raced in the recent last Italian classics of the season but has not yet signed contract with Riis' squad, has been invited to participate in the gathering. "He has completed a great season and I think it has conditions to be professional," Sastre said about him.
After disputing the Vuelta al País Vasco, Sastre will decide which Grand Tour he will race in addition to the Tour de France – the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a España. He confirmed that the schedule for the first part of the season will be very similar to last year's. He will debut in the Clásica de Almeria, continuing in the Vuelta a Murcia, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Vuelta al País Vasco, Clásica de Amorebieta, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne Liège.
However, he is keeping his participation in the Giro up in the air. "I will take the decision between the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Belgian classics. It will depend on my physical state," Sastre concluded.