By Antonio J. Salmerón
Carlos Sastre lit up the Vuelta a España on the Monachil climb, but he did not manage to fulfil his goal: distance his general classification rival. Rabobank's Denis Menchov proved to be too resilient in stage 15, as the 32 year-old Spaniard of CSC realized after numerous attacks.
"The lack of difficulty in the climbs leading to the finish," Sastre reckoned as the 2007 Vuelta's downfall. He admitted that he had known since last year what the 62nd Vuelta route would be like. "We arrived here to dispute the Vuelta, knowing its route from the presentation in December."
The little climber stood out as the only GC man willing to try to put Menchov in difficulty. "My forces are what you see. In a certain sense, I am alone," he continued. "The first three of the general classification are happy with their positions, and on Monachil, the only ones to attack were those that wanted to take the stage; it did nothing to change the classification."
The rider from El Barraco (Ávila) tried three consecutive times to break the race on the Monachil climb. "I was successful in raising the pace, but I did not manage to drop any of the favourites."
Sastre questioned the race's parcours. "The Vuelta layout needs a Tour [de France]-type mountain stage; one with four hard climbs that leave a tired, select group. I am not saying this only on my behalf, I think that it is necessary for the race itself.
"In the mountain stages I have not been able to recover the time that I lost in the time trial stage in Zaragoza," Sastre continued. With six stages left, he has not given up hope. "There is still the stage of Alto de Abantos left. I am going to continue giving it everything, awaiting an opportunity."