CSC leader aiming to get it back in the mountains
By Shane Stokes
Carlos Sastre had just one day as race leader due to the bonus seconds earned by Thor Hushovd on Sunday, but the Spanish rider said before the start of stage three that the experience was a very enjoyable one. "It was really nice because it was very important for the team and it was certainly a special day for me…it was the first time as a professional that I had a leader's jersey. It meant a lot to me.
"I was in the yellow jersey yesterday but it was really the yellow jersey of everybody on CSC, because it came from the team time trial. Everybody did a sensational job - the riders, the staff, the whole lot. In that way it was really important for everybody...the yellow jersey is a part of all of us.
Sastre punctured close to the finish in Córdoba and so finished behind the bunch, but didn't lose any time. "I had a flat tyre two and half kilometres before the finish line. I know the rules, that it was no problem because I was inside three kilometres to go. I would end up getting the same time as the peloton. It was okay.
"The goal now is to avoid any problems, maintain the opportunity that I have and wait for the right moment. With these kind of stages, it is normal that a sprinter will take the jersey with the bonus which are on offer. I cannot fight that. However I will do my best once the race moves to the mountains and see if I feel okay."
Between the spell in the maillot oro and his strong ride in France last month, this summer has probably been the best of Sastre's career. He's consequently enjoying an even higher popularity than he had before. "I got a good reaction from the public yesterday, but I think after the Tour de France everything has changed for me in Spain… I think that many people like how I ride the bike and also how I am. They were certainly happy when I got the yellow jersey."
His goal now is reclaim that golden tunic a little later on in this Vuelta.