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Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam)
Cervélo saves Spaniard's race with solid performance
Overall contender at the Giro d'Italia, Carlos Sastre, said he was pleased with the efforts of his team in yesterday's stage four team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo.
Having endured a tough few days in the opening stages of this year's race, Sastre emerged from yesterday's 33km test against the clock in good shape, with Cervélo finishing the sixth fastest, putting the Spaniard 2:13 seconds behind stage winner Vincenzo Nibali on general classification.
Some may argue that Sastre, who won two mountain stages of last year's Giro in emphatic fashion en route to finishing fourth overall (which became third with the suspension of Danilo Di Luca later in 2009), has given himself too much work to do after the race's first week. The experienced Grand Tour rider isn't panicking however, preferring to focus on the positives of the day's ride.
"The team did a wonderful team time trial today," said Sastre. "The course was a really hard one, with the straight uphill. It was windy on the side and also at the back. The guys showed today they were so strong, they were really fantastic."
An important part of that performance was Lithuanian national time trial champion Ignatas Konovalovas, who could be seen taking big turns on the front to propel the team to its time of 37:15, 38 seconds adrift of Liquigas' time.
Konovalovas won the time trial in Rome on the final day of last year's Giro - which like yesterday's stage was wet - and used that experience plus his proven TT skills to take on a leadership role over the 33km.
"It was a good ride, it looks like everybody is happy now. My legs were really good today," said Konovalovas. "We started normally, not too fast, not too slow. The first part looked very easy, you take a pull on the front, then you're on the wheel.
"Then the last 15km was very hard all the time. In the middle, we also had a huge downpour of rain. The corners were slippery, I could feel it."