"It's his point of view, his words, his life – I'm not interested in anything about that. I think he's a great champion – he won seven Tours de France, the world [road] championship… he's a great rider. But just behind every rider must be a person, and in that respect, maybe he needs to learn something more."
No guesses for working out who Carlos Sastre was referring to at the Cervélo TestTeam press conference Friday in Monaco. The defending Tour de France champion had been asked about Lance Armstrong's comments in a recently-published book, gushingly entitled, 'Lance Armstrong: The World's Greatest Champion'.
Certain extracts of the book have spread like wildfire on the Internet, particularly in reference to remarks Armstrong made about last year's Tour de France. "I'll kick their asses," he told author John Wilcockson in a conversation soon after the 2008 Tour, discussing his planned comeback. "The Tour was a bit of a joke this year. I've got nothing against Sastre… or Christian Vande Velde. Christian's a nice guy, but finishing fifth in the Tour de France? Come on!"
Honesty and humility appear to make Sastre a more likeable figure among the press than cycling fans, who tend to gravitate towards stars with more boisterous, larger-than-life personalities. And for this reason, the innocuous meeting room used for the press conference at the Novotel Monaco – a modest, by Tour de France standard, three-star hotel that lacked the bells and whistles of some bigger budget teams – was far too small.
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