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Sastre to begin 2011 season in Murcia

Carlos Sastre

Carlos Sastre (Image credit: Sonja Csury)

Carlos Sastre will start his 2011 season in March at the Vuelta a Murcia and then continue with a largely Spanish race programme. The Geox-TMC rider is not sure whether he will ride the Giro d'Italia this year after the team failed to land a ProTeam licence.

Meanwhile, the internal power struggle between the sponsors and team manager Mauro Gianetti seems to have been laid to rest and the team will try to secure wild card invitations to the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

Sastre won the Tour de France in 2008 and intends to follow a similar race programme for 2011. “I started with the Vuelta a Murcia, and I only did the Clasica de Almeria before that,” he said on his personal website. “Then I will ride the Volta a Catalunya and Castilla y Leon.”

The Spaniard  finished third overall in the 2009 Giro d'Italia and eighth in 2010, despite a back injury. He has not yet decided whether he will ride the Giro for the third consecutive year.

“That is something that is not yet decided. Among other things, we don't know if the team will be invited,” he noted. “It is true that I like it, but first we must know what we will be able to do and then it will be time to make the schedule.”

Geox future secure

The next Geox-TMC training camp is scheduled for January 8 to 15 in Vilasecca, Spain. The team presentation and the new jersey will be unveiled during the camp. Sastre and fellow team leader Denis Menchov will attend the Vuelta Espana route presentation in Alicante on January 12.

The team, which has only a Professional Continental licence, has been in the headlines because of an apparent feud between sponsors Geox and team manager Mauro Gianetti. There have been widespread reports that Geox and TMC have tried to take direct control of the team by buying the licence and team infrastructure from Gianetti. They had reportedly gone as far as threatening to dropping their sponsorship and appointed former Mapei manager Alvaro Crespi as a consultant.

However on Thursday, Gazzetta della Sport reported that while Geox is disappointed at not being automatically included in the Grand Tours, it will not attempt to change the management team and will focus on securing invitations to the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta Espana.