Carlos Sastre has had a quiet year so far, but the Team CSC leader will face his most important test of the season when he lines up at the Dauphiné Libéré this Sunday, June 18. The Spaniard's last race was the Volta a Catalunya where he finished 43rd overall, more than nine minutes down on winner Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Karpin Galicia).
"It's time to learn the important things," said Sastre. "My mentality in this race will be very different from the other races so far this season. The Dauphiné is the most demanding test that I will compete in before the Tour. Until now, I have taken the season relatively easily, but after the Volta a Catalunya I stepped up my training and now, in the Dauphiné, it is time to draw conclusions."
While none of the Dauphiné route passes over the same roads as the Tour de France, Sastre believes it will be useful to gauge the form of his rivals. "Most important are the time trial on the third stage and the final three stages which pass through the Alps," he said.
According to Sastre's website, of the seven riders that will accompany Sastre to the start in Avignon, only Iñigo Cuesta will be part of Team CSC's Tour de France lineup. The rest of the team is composed of Lars Bak, Alexandr Kolobnev, Karsten Kroon, Marcus Ljungqvist, Chris Anker Sørensen and Nicki Sørensen. Team CSC has not yet announced any Tour de France participants.