By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spaniard Carlos Sastre has signed UCI riders' anti-doping agreement and is ready to take his chances in an open Tour de France. The 32 year-old of Team CSC spoke from his home town of Madrid about his options in the three-week race.
He signed the UCI riders' anti-doping agreement before departing to the Barajas (Madrid) airport for London. "I signed it, but it does not take into account my personal and ethical values," Sastre commented to Cyclingnews at a press conference near his home. "In life it is necessary to adopt decisions against my will, and this one is one of them. I have signed, along with all of my teammates, to be able to attend the Tour."
"I have arrived calm and relaxed for this date, with the work completed that guarantees me to be able to fight and I have the motivation necessary to do something important," stated the little climber, winner of the 2003 Tour stage 13.
"This Tour will be exciting, because nobody can control the race as Lance Armstrong used to do." Sastre will co-lead the team with Luxemburger Fränk Schleck.
He did not want to mention the names of potential rivals. "I do not like to give names before a race. The biggest rival for all of us is the Tour and, after that, the weather. The development of the Tour will provide answers to some questions," he continued.
"I had certain freedom. I had to work for Hamilton and Basso," he said of his past Tour participation. "I had fewer responsibilities but I also could not defend my time gains. In the last Tour, I assumed the responsibility in an unexpected and hasty manner. However, this year I have had time to concentrate. I am working to reach something important for me, for CSC and for my family."
Sastre believes the difficulties will come in the Tour's second set of mountains. "The high mountains have the same difficulties as always, although this year they will be more demanding in the Pyrénées than in the Alps. I believe that the key-stage will be the one that finishes on the top of the Col d'Aubisque, after confronting, among others, the Larraut [in Navarra, Spain. Stage 13 - ed.]."
The two long time trials worry him. "I am not a specialist, although I have been working in depth to improve and I will try to defend myself as well as possible."
American David Zabriskie confirmed the team support for Sastre. "At this point we are all committed to Fränk and Carlos," he said in an interview with Cyclingnews. "Carlos has the experience."
Cyclingnews will have full interviews with Zabriskie and Sastre in the next two days.