By Shane Stokes in Luzern
With Ivan Basso long gone from the team, and the Schleck brothers too young to challenge for the overall classification, leadership of the CSC team for the Tour de France will fall upon the shoulders of Carlos Sastre this season. The friendly Spaniard proved in 2006 that he is deserving of this status, finishing fourth in the Tour and fourth in the Vuelta a España, despite having earlier ridden the Giro d'Italia.
"I am okay," he told Cyclingnews prior to the start of stage two. "I have had some good training and everything is going well for the Tour de France. This year I am doing a different programme. In 2006 we rode the Giro; it was important for the team. But this year, the structure without Ivan is different. I am the new captain of the team for the Tour de France and for sure I have built form more slowly and have done everything to arrive at the Tour de France in the best condition."
He's likely to push himself a bit harder here, although he feels that other riders on the team are more likely to figure in the general classification. "For me, this is an important race. After this we have only two weeks before the Tour de France, so it is important. We have a very strong team here and we have to start to get back into good condition.
"For me, my plan here is to go step by step. The team is okay with Fabian [Cancellara], and Frank Schleck is in good shape. I am building up a little more slowly than them."