Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) isn’t interested in controversy over waiting for fallen general classification contenders, after Alberto Contador (Astana) tried to stop his attack on the Tour de France’s Stage 17. Debate has raged on the topic since Contador himself attacked Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) to take the yellow jersey while the Luxembourg rider suffered a mechanical earlier in the race.
Sastre didn’t mince words when talking about the incident after the stage. “Whoever wants to start debating or raising controversy about this matter can do so freely,” he said. “I’ve fallen in this Tour, I fell in the Italian Giro d’Italia, I’ve had technical problems and no-one ever waited for me.
“I think we’re turning cycling into a sport for spoilt brats and that is what happens in these kinds of circumstances,” he said.
Despite Sastre being outside of Tour contention, Contador attempted to prevent him attacking the peloton when Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel – Euskadi) had a nasty fall yesterday. The setup of Sastre’s move was already in progress at the time of the accident with Ignatas Konovalovas already dropping out of the lead group to pace the former winner, so he remained committed to the attack.
Sastre stayed away until the foot of the Tourmalet, but the effort wasted in failing to catch the lead group took a told on the rider. Despite the outcome Sastre was upbeat about his attempt.
“Today was full of action and inspired a lot of comments,” he said. “For some it has been a crazy day, for others it was stupidity, for others a day of bravery and others a day of courage...as far as I was concerned, it was a day to enjoy myself on my bike.
“I was feeling motivated to give it a go today,” he added. “I was lucky enough to have the support of a team mate, Kolovanovas, who helped me throughout the start of the race and then I didn't have enough strength to get into the front breakaway, but I tried with everything I had and that is the most important thing for me.”
Ultimately Sastre lost more than 16 minutes on the stage, putting him 25 minutes behind overall in 21st place. Yet Sastre was still pleased with his attempt on the final mountains stage.
“Some considered me as finished and today meant a lot more than winning to me,” he said. “I think victories are important, but defeats mean so much more as you can draw many positive things from them. Today showed me something new about myself that I didn’t know. I feel happy that I tried it, that I fought and came back to the race I like best feeling motivated.”