Astana's Andreas Klöden has praised Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre on the performance he and his Team CSC-Saxo Bank squad turned out to claim the Grand Tour victory. While the German rider's Astana squad, which includes 2007 Tour champion Alberto Contador, was left out of this year's Tour Klöden said the team's absence doesn't diminish Sastre's feat.
"It was an exciting tour and I think at the end Carlos Sastre was the deserved winner," he said. "He was [one of] the drivers and could be consistent over time trials as well."
Klöden admitted he didn't watch the Tour until it reached the mountains, instead taking some time away from the sport with his family. The rider admitted it was a shame Astana wasn't at the Tour to measure just how strong Team CSC-Saxo Bank were against the Giro d'Italia winning squad.
"It was just a pity that he is not with the best tour team," he said. "The tour without Astana: this is like Brazil missing at the [football] World Cup. "But that should not diminish Sastre's success, and I belong to those who give Carlos the victory."
The German also praised the efforts of his compatriot Stefan Schumacher. The Gerolsteiner rider claimed victory in both time trials and also held the yellow leader's jersey for a number of days.
"Although it was always clear to me that [Schumacher] is a very good and talented cyclist, his outstanding performance during the two time trials and the yellow jersey, I was somewhat surprised," he said. "In any event, I am very pleased for Schumi."
Klöden added that a team such as CSC-Saxo Bank winning the Tour shows that the fight by squads with strong anti-doping programs is bearing fruit.