Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre won the sports award of Castilla y León. The community will present the Spaniard his trophy on April 22.
"The call of the Minister of Culture and Sports, José María Salgueiro, came while I was training. If I'm honest, it is not what I expected," said Sastre.
Sastre, from Ávila, won the Alpe d'Huez stage and the overall of the 2008 Tour de France. It was the third time in recent years that a Spaniard won the French three-week stage race.
He started his 2009 season in the Tour of California, February 14 to 22. He was hampered in the race by a cold and abandoned before the final stage. He is preparing for his first major objective of the 2009 season: the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31.
"It is now one-hundred percent for the Giro, and then I will concentrate on the Tour de France, which remains my goal. But this year's World Championships interests me; I have heard that it is very hard. Those races are my three goals this season."
Sastre left CSC-Saxo Bank at the end of 2008 to join the newly formed Cervélo TestTeam. The season has started off well for the team; its most recent win came in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad thanks to Thor Hushovd.
"We started in the Tour of Qatar by winning the second stage and taking second overall, in California we won a stage and came close to a second, and in Volta ao Algarve we took two more stages. I don't think you can ask for more."
Sastre continues his season at the end of this month with Vuelta a Castilla y León stage race, March 23 to 27.