Carlos Sastre was not happy after Monday's Vuelta a España stage. The Spaniard of Team CSC accused Denis Menchov of "buying" the help of rival Leonardo Piepoli. "I think what he [Piepoli] did was shameful," the CSC rider said. "It could have been a much nicer stage but this kind of... We can not call it alliances. They are 'buys' in your face. These kind of things [make] dirty races; I think it's not good. Every rider has responsibility of his actions."
"It's an absolute disgrace when a rider from another team helps the leader," Sastre added to Eurosport. "I even dropped back at one point to see what they were up to." He attacked multiple times in the last few kilometres, but was always countered by Piepoli or Menchov.
Manuel Beltrán of Liquigas was also in the small group that managed to stay together at the end of the race, and was also unhappy with how things went. "I agreed with Carlos," said Beltrán. "They hurt me a lot. I understand there are always alliances. Yesterday, he [Menchov] let Piepoli win the stage and it's logical than today he [Piepoli] helped him [Menchov]. This doesn't help the show. I think that I was the one most damaged."
Piepoli and Menchov escaped together at the end of the ninth stage. The Russian allowed the Italian to take the stage win, while he was winning the leader's jersey. They had broken out of another small group containing Sastre, who finished 17 seconds back.
Neither Menchov nor Piepoli was concerned by the comments. "These comments were made by Sastre in the heat of the moment, just after finishing," Piepoli said to Eurosport. "All I did was ride my own race and try and make it difficult for everybody. The only rider who attacked up until four kilometres from the finish was me."
"No, I think it's not that way," added Menchov. "Truly, we didn't talk about anything for today. Leo always rides this way; he tried to change the tempo many times. I followed him just in case, to see if someone stays behind. Leo tried to put a strong rhythm."