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Carlos Sastre crosses the finish line in Vittel.
Last year's champion closes race in 17th
Spaniard Carlos Sastre promised to return and fight for another Tour de France Sunday in Paris. Last year's winner ended an unexpected 17th after three weeks of racing.
"My ambitions are here in the Tour de France. It is my race," Sastre said to Cyclingnews. "This year I did not go as I expected, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to come back here. I want to say good bye doing a great race, with or without a win, I want to come back and race as I expect."
Spaniard Alberto Contador (Astana) won the race over Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Lance Armstrong (Astana). Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) finished 16 placings down on his win last year and was the third best Spaniard. The second best Spaniard, Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), was 11th.
"Life is like this. Sometimes you are here and sometimes there," Sastre said. "I thought I was better, but I was empty before the start and I lacked a lot of things. I was not angry with myself, but a little sad inside."
Sastre lost over a minute each in the opening day's time trial in Monaco, day four's team time trial in Montpellier and the first mountain top finish in Arcalís. His biggest time loses came on the Le Grand-Bornand and Mont Ventoux stages this week, around eight minutes each. He finished in Paris today 26:21 behind after racing 3459.5 kilometres.
"It was a tough race. When you don't feel well everything is tough and everything is hard. Life is like this and you learn about it. That is what I did this year. I was listening, looking and if I made mistakes, I will try to repair those for next year."
Sastre, 34, will race again with Cervélo TestTeam in 2010. He started his career with ONCE in 1998, raced with CSC from 2002 to 2008 and joined the newly formed Cervélo team for the start of this season.
Besides his Tour de France overall win, he has three stage victories in his career thus far. He also won two stages in the Giro d'Italia this year: Monte Petrano and Vesuvio.