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Third grand tour for Carlos Sastre?

Carlos Sastre has indicated that he is likely to start the Vuelta a España on August 28. Speaking to the Diario de Ávila, the 2008 Tour de France champion said that the key issue to be resolved is the line-up of riders who would back him in the Cervélo team in Spain.

“I’m just waiting for the decision from the team on who would be joining me [at the Vuelta],” said Sastre. “I would like to be able to count on the rest of the Spanish riders such as Óscar Pujol, Xavier Florencio, Xavi Tondo and Joaquín Novoa. The decision on that will be made this week.”

If the 35-year-old Cervélo TestTeam leader does decide to start the Vuelta having already ridden and finished the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this season, it would be the second time that he has taken on all three major tours in the same year. In 2006, Sastre helped then CSC team-mate Ivan Basso win the Giro title, then finished third at the Tour and fourth at the Vuelta. He said then that he would never attempt the feat again having finished the Vuelta “totally spent”.

However, Sastre says that things are different this season. “This year I started racing much later on and I’m feeling good both physically and mentally as I showed at the San Sebastián Classic,” he said. Sastre took a career-best third place in Spain’s biggest one-day race at the end of July.

Vuelta organisers Unipublic have been putting Cervélo under pressure to select Sastre for the season’s final grand tour. The team were one of Vuelta director Javier Guillén’s wild card picks for the race. Guillén indicated at the time that Cervélo’s place in the race was largely dependent on Sastre’s presence in the Cervélo team that will line up in Seville at the end of August.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).