Sastre climbs within distance of the podium

Team CSC has put the loss of Ivan Basso on the eve of the race behind them with a strong showing in the Pyrenees yesterday. Carlos Sastre has climbed his way into fifth overall after finishing in fifth place on Thursday's epic, five-climb stage.

The Spaniard finished 17 seconds behind winner Denis Menchov after just losing contact on the final climb. CSC's Frank Schleck also had a good day, finishing eighth on the stage.

"It was a fantastic day for Carlos and the team. It was really great to see him up front and well protected by his team mates. It was very important for us to do well in this stage, and I definitely think we did. I'm really satisfied," said Bjarne Riis.

David Zabriskie, who started the day in 12th place as CSC's best-placed rider, lost contact with the lead group over the Tourmalet. Other CSC riders also had a tough day on the Tourmalet. Stuart O’Grady had an ill-timed puncture while veteran Giovanni Lombardi withdrew from the race on the hors category climb.

"It's obviously a big loss for us, as Lombardi was an important rider for the upcoming stages, but we'll just keep on fighting and hopefully look forward to a big result,” Riis continued. “There's no doubt in my mind, the last part of the race will be extremely exciting."

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