During the Vuelta a España's second rest day Carlos Sastre is showing the scars of competing in three grand tours in 2010 and has taken aim at the decisions made by the Cervélo TestTeam in choosing its Vuelta squad.
The 2008 Tour de France champion says he is feeling increasingly fatigued as a result of his grand tour triple play this season and the particularly hectic nature of this year's Vuelta isn't helping matters.
"The start of this year's Vuelta a España was not at all easy, and in fact for all the members of this team it hasn't changed as the race progresses. On top of that, a cold I caught when I was travelling from Alicante to Tarragona complicated things for me even more during this past week, while my strength is also waning after three big tours. That is why I said that my enthusiasm is outweighing my strength now," said Sastre.
The 35-year-old has signed for Team Geox for the next two seasons and didn't hesitate in taking the opportunity to remind readers of the poor decision made by his current team, Cervélo TestTeam, in selecting a Vuelta squad that in his opinion has failed to adequately support him during the race.
"As I said at the beginning of this Vuelta and throughout all the month of August, this was not the team that I would have liked and it isn't a balanced team in any sense. In fact, to date, three riders have already gone home and as the days goes by my opinion is simply reaffirmed," said Sastre.
"I asked for riders who knew that they would be in the Vuelta a España until the end, not just for a part of it. Without being backed by the team that I really wanted, playing a tactical battle is really complicated for a number of reasons."
Sastre currently lies in ninth overall, just 10 seconds behind teammate Xavier Tondo in eighth and 4:53 in arrears of overall leader Joaquin Rodriguez. The Spanish veteran is trying to maintain motivation for the coming stages, which may prove vital in determining the final outcome of what's been an intriguing Vuelta.
"I still feel positively about this race, because when you fight it out and give everything you have to the race, you're not left with a feeling of 'I'm not sure if I could have done better'. I think I'm where I'm able to be and after all the setbacks that I have been through over recent days, I'm really just feeling satisfied and happy," he explained.
"From now on, there are five hard and very important days, with the time trial here in Peñafiel, with 46 hard kilometres and not one kilometre of rest. When you have to really push on continuously without being able to rest at all and when you're not a specialist, this can all mount up.
"To top all this off, the climb up the Bola del Mundo next Saturday could also be a day with time differences if the weather is bad, as predicted. I think that I would find winning this Vuelta a España truly difficult, but I also think that the classification is more open now than ever."
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