Carlos Sastre took another small step towards the Tour de France-Vuelta a España double with a safe ride into Spain's southern city of Córdoba, the end of a 168.3-kilometre stage three. The 33 year-old Team CSC-Saxo Bank rider claimed the French Grand Tour earlier this year and has his sights on conquering the Vuelta.
"The stage was warm, as was predicted. It was a day marked with the escape of the Andalucía rider, and from behind, we rolled with relative tranquillity to kilometre 50. From there, a constant rhythm was kept practically until the outskirts of Córdoba and the ascent of San Jerónimo, where there was been attacks in order to up the chase and to eliminate the sprinters' teams," said Sastre in a press note.
The day came down to a bunch gallop, topped by Tom Boonen of Team Quick Step. "... A mass sprint in which us general classification riders also tried to be there as to not lose our options, but without spending too much energy."
Sastre will need to make a mark tomorrow, the 42.5-kilometre time trial in Ciudad Real, to bolster his chance at the Tour-Vuelta double. Only two riders have completed such a feat – both French, Bernard Hinault, 1978, and Jacques Anquetil, 1963.
"I believe all is going well. ... I am covered by my team-mates and I have taken another small step towards this Vuelta a España," added Sastre. He finished second twice before – last year and 2005 – both times behind Russia's Denis Menchov, who is not racing this year.