Sastre gets direct apology from Armstrong

Defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam)

Defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre may not be the overwhelming favourite to win this year's event, but he was stung by reports last week that Lance Armstrong had called last year's Tour "sort of a joke" in a new book.

Armstrong apologised for his remarks at yesterday's press conference, but reiterated his regrets for the unfriendly remark to Sastre in person today.

Sastre described riding up to the Astana team and Armstrong to congratulate them on their team time trial victory, and said Armstrong offered up the apology, according to his personal website,

"This morning at the start and whilst the pack was riding together, I had the chance to congratulate the Astana riders for their victory yesterday. I also praised other riders from other teams and I rode alongside Armstrong, who I also congratulated.

"After this, he apologised for the comments he had made and for what he wrote in his book about my victory in last year's Tour."

"That was really important to me because it meant that he has regained the respect that I have always had for him. I think it's important that he said it, not only for the press but for me personally, and I'm glad about it.”

Sastre survived the windswept fifth stage to maintain 29th place overall, 2:44 down on yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), and is just fractions of a second closer to second placed Armstrong.

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