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Carlos Sastre had a grin on his face as he watched the presentation of the Tour de France. With each passing stage, the 2008 winner was feeling better and better about his chances next year.
“This reminds me a lot of the year that I won,” Sastre said Tuesday. “It’s very hard, particularly the final week, and that’s when I tend to be at my best.”
Sastre was especially pleased to see the return of Alpe d’Huez, the legendary mountain summit where he won the last time a stage was held there in 2008, a victory that eased the way for his overall victory.
“This is really a Tour for climbers. With fewer kilometers of time trial and five really hard days in the mountains, it will be a wide open race,” Sastre continued. “I will wait to see how the Giro looks, but in principle, I will race the Tour de France for sure.”
Sastre also hinted that he would race all three grand tours again, something he did in 2010, riding to top-10s at both the Giro and Vuelta.
The veteran Spanish climber will race for Geox next season, where he will share leadership with Denis Menchov, a two-time winner of the Vuelta and third place overall in the Tour last year.
“I don’t expect there to be any problems between Denis and I,” Sastre said. “We’re different kinds of riders and we both understand each other very well. We can be stronger together and put the others on the defensive.”
Sastre said he’s also hopeful that he can put behind him two tumultuous seasons at the Cervélo team, a squad which he helped to create but ended up leaving even before the team decided it would cease operations at the end of the season.
“Changing teams always gives you new motivation, new challenges, so that will help me to keep making the sacrifices necessary in this sport,” he said. “The team structure is in place. I’ve had a long relationship with the directors. I am sure we will have a very strong team for the Tour.”