Carlos Sastre offered his comments a day after the 2008 Tour de France route launch in Paris. The fourth place finisher in the 2007 Tour de France may do well in next year's tour which omits the prologue and includes one shortened individual time trial. "It benefits me that there is less racing against the clock. The time trials are two stages in which I always yielded time to other riders."
Sastre also finished fourth in the 2006 Tour de France, but presumably can now call himself third after Tour de France organizers replaced Floyd Landis with Oscar Pereiro as the official winner following Landis' positive doping test (for testosterone).
The 32 year-old Team CSC rider anticipates that the 2008 race will be close. "The differences in the general classification are going to be very tight and the race will be won by a solid leader with a team who controls the race for him." Sastre would not give predictions since he doesn't yet know who will be racing, but he said the names of favorites are already on the minds of all. "If there is something good or different than in the past [editions of the Tour], it's that there is no clear favorite as in the days of [Miguel] Indurain or [Lance] Armstrong."
Sastre isn't quite sure what the mountains will bring. "Of four climbing stages, I only know Alpe d'Huez. I know little about Besse, Hautacam and Prato Nevoso. I don't know about the Bonette either although I have seen that it rises almost 3,000m in altitude."
"What makes a Tour harder or easier is not what they put in the route but the intensity of the competition," said Sastre. "It's the cyclists that end up making the routes hard."
On the subject of biological passports, Sastre was less excited and more cynical. "It is more of the same, similar to DNA, the new public topic, but in my negative opinion of our sport, those who skip the rules will continue to do so," said Sastre. "I do not know of what the passport consists because nobody has explained it to me, but I trust it will have guarantees that it can not be manipulated by anyone. What must come out of the controls are serious and trustworthy results."