Cervélo TestTeam was one of the revelations of last year’s Tour de France, but the team is patiently waiting word whether top stars Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd will be lining up July 3 in Rotterdam.
Hushovd, winner of last year’s green jersey, is recovering from a broken clavicle and will return to racing at the Tour de Suisse later this month to test his form before making a decision on the Tour.
Sastre, the 2008 Tour champ, is coming off the Giro d’Italia with a banged up back and remains uncommitted to racing in July.
“I will go home and recover from this Giro and then make a decision,” Sastre told VeloNews. “The truth is that I haven’t decided if I will race the Tour or not. My first focus of the season was the Giro and I wanted to completely concentrate on that. What’s sure if I race the Tour this year, I want to be the Carlos Sastre of 2008, not the one we saw last year, who was tired and not fully recovered.”
Sastre crashed hard twice in the first week of the Giro, tweaking his back and knocking him out of contention for the Giro crown. Despite sneaking into the race-breaking group at the L’Aquila stage, the hampered Sastre couldn’t climb at his best due to his back injuries.
Sastre has a history of back problems, and races with a longer frame to create a softer ride on the road. Cervélo didn’t fully reveal the extent of Sastre’s back injuries until late in the race.
“Carlos’s back was very, very bad. He stayed in the race for his respect and passion for the Giro, and because the team was here 100 percent for him,” said Cervélo sport director Alex Sans Vega. “We have not spoken to Carlos about the Tour. The first goal was the Giro. We’ll talk in the coming weeks to see how he’s feeling.”
If Sastre decides he’s not in top condition to start the Tour, he’ll likely race the Vuelta a España in September.
Hushovd, meanwhile, is hopeful he’ll be ready to race the Tour. Last year, he was one of the few sprinters able to consistently challenge Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), winning a stage and claiming the green points jersey.
On May 9, Hushovd collided with a young girl when he was on a training ride in Italy. The girl was not injured, but Hushovd broke his collarbone. After undergoing surgery, Hushovd has since returned to training.
The Tour de Suisse will be an important test on his condition.
“Thor will decide after he’s raced the Swiss tour,” said Cervélo team spokesman Geert Broekhuizen. “Thor wants to race the Tour, but he doesn’t want to race if he’s not in top condition to compete for the sprints and properly defend his green jersey.”
The team’s other top rider — Heinrich Haussler — has had an equally bumpy road to the Tour, but he is expected to race the Tour.
A winner of a stage last year, Haussler struggled with knee injuries that sidelined him during the spring classics. Haussler abandoned the Tour of California and was in a two-car incident in Germany in late May when police later discovered he was over the legal limit for alcohol.
Team officials said Haussler’s accident will not affect his racing schedule. He’s expected to race in this weekend at the GP du Canton d’Argovie and then the Tour de Suisse.