Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) will ride three races in Italy to prepare for the Giro di Lombardia, on October 20th. The Spaniard returns to competition this Thursday at the Coppa Sabatini, the first of three races before Lombardia closes out the season on Italian roads. Lombardia, the big classic that concludes the ProTour season, carries special interest for CSC and Bjarne Riis. CSC will race with the best team available. It will include the Russian Alexandr Kolobnev, fresh off a silver medal win at the Worlds, the Schleck brothers Andy and Fränk and Carlos Sastre.
After Sabatini, there are two more races planned as preparation, the Giro dell'Emilia on Saturday and the Gran Premio Beghelli, on Sunday. Then one more week of training and rest should see the CSC be strong for the final classic of the season.
Sastre revealed that "the only race I don't know is the Coppa Sabatini. The Giro dell'Emilia is especially tough, with its 226 kilometres. The last 120 kilometres is like a winding slide, where you don't stop to ascend and descend. And the Giro di Lombardia is very demanding and competitive. It's the last big opportunity to show off what the great riders and the teams have, our team included. We hope to win it," commented Sastre a day before traveling to Italy.
After a little active rest following the Vuelta a España Sastre retrieved his desire to compete. "I was resting at home and I was able to train on my preferred routes. It was especially important to decompress after the Vuelta and the Worlds. This was sufficient to tackle the next races with new energy."
Sastre will be taking his compatriot Joaquín Novoa under his wings, who will give his debut with the Danish team. The elite rider from Ávila, the same region where Sastre is from, was endorsed by the veteran rider from the northeastern part of the country. Sastre described Novoa as a "good rider and a good person. He's 24 years of age and has already achieved important things in the amateur ranks. I will be on his side so he can adapt to the team and the pro racing. I hope he can demonstrate to cycling that he belongs."