The Cervélo TestTeam has announced that Carlos Sastre will ride the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday as preparation for next month's Giro d'Italia, which gets underway in Amsterdam on May 8.
Sastre, who celebrates his 35th birthday in nine days time, has raced only once in 2010, at the Tour of Catalunya, and Sunday's Ardennes Classics opener will serve as the toughest test of his season so far.
He'll be joined by Davide Appollonio, Philip Deignan, Xavier Florencio, Volodymir Gustov, Ted King, Daniel Lloyd and Xavier Tondo, in a squad capable of causing an upset on the hilly parcours through the Limburg region on Holland.
Sastre announced earlier this year that he will again ride the Giro d'Italia after a successful campaign in Italy last season, where he took two stage wins and finished the race fourth overall. He was promoted to third after the disqualification of Danilo Di Luca, who took second overall but tested positive for EPO-CERA.
Directeur sportif for the event, Jean Paul van Poppel, believes the 257.3km parcours will be good preparation for the experienced Spaniard. "The Limburg region, where the race takes place, serves up an endless menu of steep, narrow climbs. One of the 31 climbs, the Keutenberg, features ramps as steep as 20 percent. With Carlos Sastre we have a big name at the start," he said.
Sastre finished 37th in the 2009 edition of the Amstel Gold Race.