By Daniel Benson in Paris
Carlos Sastre is looking forward to defending his title at this year's Tour de France presentation and pointed to the mountains and lack of time trailing as a main advantage for next year. The soft-spoken Spaniard and leader of Team Cervélo – sandwiched between Alberto Contador and Oscar Pereiro during the presentation – was pleased to return to the French capital to witness the new route's unveiling.
"Watching the images from this year brought back a lot of good memories for me. But as ever it's going to be a hard Tour de France. What else would you expect? A lot of the riders and I were sitting here and we all thought that it was a spectacular route," he said.
As a thoroughbred climber, Sastre was also upbeat with the profile of the major stages, with four mountain top finishes and only 55 kilometres of individual time trialling. "On a personal level I'm glad that the time trials are a little bit shorter than this year and that the mountain top finishes will be decisive. They'll be good battleground for me and will allow me to ride to my strengths. I'm very motivated and I'll aim to win, why not?
Having moved from Team CSC Saxo Bank to Cervélo Sastre hasn't had the easiest of transitions since his season ended, with news today that Scott Sunderland has left the team. However, he adamantly stated that the team would be ready for the coming season.
"My new team is looking strong, too. I have Thor Hushovd and I have guys around me who know what it's like to win big races and stages of the Tour. You can count on us being ready."