Carlos Sastre's triumph in the Tour de France over the weekend has capped a "magical" year for Spanish sports, Spanish media said Monday just two weeks before the Olympic Games get underway.
"Sastre's triumph in the Tour marks the end of the two most fruitful months in Spanish football," the daily newspaper El Mundo wrote with photographs of the cyclist on the Champs Elysees after his win on Sunday.
"Sastre conquers Paris in a magical year for Spanish sports," wrote rival daily El Pais.
Increased suspense, a boom in television ratings and happy sponsors left Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme in a buoyant mood two days prior to the end of this year's race.
But with the ever-present threat of cheats lingering, the Frenchman knows it is far too early to talk of a definitive turnaround for the sport.
After years of controversy the reputation of the race was tarnished by a minority of drugs cheats. But compared to recent scandals, this year's Tour got off comparatively lightly.
Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans (Silence-Lott) dismissed as “unfounded rumor” speculation he has suffered a knee injury that could threaten his participation in next month’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
Evans, 31, finished second in Tour de France for the second straight year and on Sunday night joined his Silence Lotto team mates for the traditional post-Tour dinner in Paris. Evans said he did slip on a wet floor but it was no more than that.
For Australia's Cadel Evans, the Olympic road race in Beijing is already too far on the horizon.
For the immediate future, the 31-year-old wants to concentrate on winding down at the one-day criteriums which follow the end of the Tour de France — and then put his bike to rest.
Evans' overriding feeling was one of "relief" on Sunday after he finished his fourth Tour campaign with an impressive fourth top ten finish.
Yet his second consecutive runner-up spot, a year on from losing the yellow jersey by 23 seconds to Spaniard Alberto Contador, must have hurt.
Here's a picture that reflects the amazing day now behind me.
It was amazing.
The feeling riding onto the Champs was unlike anything I've ever felt on a bicycle before in my life. Tired legs turned into a feeling of nothing but excitement.
And now we're in the middle of a celebratory dinner and I've already consumed far too much bubbly.
Thanks everybody for following the past few weeks!
Weather Hot and humid with partly cloudy skies and moderate wind, temperatures in the mid 80s
Stage winner Quick Step’s Gert Steegmans salvaged a disappointing Tour for his Belgian team by winning one of the most prestigious sprints in cycling along the Champs Elysees.
Yellow jersey Race leader Carlos Sastre held his overall lead, with no major change on classification.
Carlos Sastre has a reputation of being a cool customer under pressure.
After 11 seasons as a pro, nothing rankles the 33-year-old veteran too much.
From doping scandals that nearly toppled his CSC team after captain Ivan Basso was implicated in the Operación Puerto doping scandal to the death of his brother-in-law, José María “El Chaba” Jiménez in 2003 at just 32, he’d seen it all.
Anyone can attest it’s hard to sleep when you’re hot.
It's a fact that Garmin-Chipotle physiologist Allen Lim knows well. It’s why, among other things, regulating his riders’ temperatures on and off the bike is key to keeping them as fresh and fast as possible. This concept plays into both short-term and long-term performances; the former being a stage performance and the latter being the whole of the three-week race like the Tour de France.
Kazakhstan's Dmitri Fofonov has tested positive for a banned stimulant, his Credit Agricole team said on the final day of the Tour de France.
Fofonov finished the race in 19th overall, 28:31 behind race winner Carlos Sastre.
Credit Agricole manager Roger Legeay said Fofonov told the team he bought a product over
the Internet to fight cramps.
He has been suspended and may be fired, Legeay said.