Like GC contenders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden, CSC's Carlos Sastre found himself on the deck during the fifth stage to Autun. However he was unharmed and quickly returned to the bunch.
"I am completely okay after the crash," the friendly Spaniard said. "Today my goal was to survive, not to lose time, to stay in the first group and nothing more. It was a hard day for everybody, it was not easy, it was windy, it was up and down and using roads with rough asphalt. It was not easy. But I feel okay so far."
He commented on the day's big GC news, the time lost by the Astana leader. "Vinokourov is a strong rider and the important thing is that he is okay after the crash. He is important rider for the Tour de France."
CSC have had a very strong Tour thus far, winning two stages and monopolising the yellow jersey thanks to Fabian Cancellara. They have consequently spent a lot of time on front of the main bunch but Sastre said that this was not a tactical mistake.
"We had to work this week but I think that the team rode with intelligence," he said. "We had to ride for Fabian. I was able to remain tranquil, keeping a good position in the peloton and remaining free of stress. It also helps in avoiding crashes. I think it was a pretty good week for us in the Tour de France."
Sastre finished fourth in the Tour de France last year [third if Floyd Landis is disqualified]. He is the undisputed leader of CSC and is clear as to what he must do. "My goal for the race is not to have an off day," he said. SS