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Battle lines drawn after Giro

An unusual display of emotion from Denis Menchov who sealed his overall win with a solid time trial

An unusual display of emotion from Denis Menchov who sealed his overall win with a solid time trial (Image credit: AFP Photo)

After Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre each won two stages and finished within the top five on general classification at the Giro d'Italia they'll go into next month's Tour de France as one of the race's rivalries to watch.

Sastre spoke of this rivalry at a press conference in Ávila yesterday following his successful Giro campaign. As he turns his attention to defending his Tour de France title, Sastre said that it will "have nothing to do with the rest" and that his greatest rival in La Grande Boucle will be Menchov.

"Denis Menchov will be my eternal rival. Wherever we ride we will always battle," Sastre explained to reporters. He considers the Russian a "very complete" rider who should "be taken seriously."

Sastre also commented on Lance Armstrong's form, admitting that the American has found it "difficult to return to the rider that was, although he's at a very high level." Cervélo's captain said he "wouldn't lose sleep" over the threat Armstrong's poses at the Tour, although he'll be up against his teammate, Alberto Contador, who is sure to begin the race as favourite.

As for Sastre's preparations over the coming month, he hopes to rest as much as possible before a possible ride in the Spanish national championships and reconnaissance of the Alpine stages of the Tour.

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