By Antonio J. Salmerón
Team CSC leader Carlos Sastre expects this season to be "the most important one in [his] cycling career," and will again structure his season around the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. "I hope to confront them in the best condition possible, especially the Tour," said Sastre at a press conference in Spain. "I have arrived at a point of professional maturity in which I feel capable of contesting this race. After assuming the responsibility of the team in 2006, I have the mental strength necessary to win the Tour and the Vuelta".
Sastre recently returned from Team CSC's training camp in California which included fine tuning his time trial position in the San Diego wind tunnel. "There have been three weeks of intense work, in between trips and training we have practically not had a single day of rest," said Sastre. "We have carried out training at different intensities - between three and six hours each time. Altogether about 2,700 kilometers."
The Spaniard is hoping for a marked improvement against the clock after slipping off the Tour de France podium last year following the stage 19 time trial. "I have corrected the position of the handlebars and we have verified that we can improve in the race against the clock," explained Sastre. "I hope that all these changes are translated soon on the road and they allow me to yield less time with respect to the specialists."
Sastre's first competitive outing will be the Clasica de Almeria one day race on March 4 followed by the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia from March 7-11.