The career plans of Carlos Sastre were the subject of widespread speculation Wednesday, as the reigning Tour de France champion was linked to both the new Russian team Katusha and Canada’s Cervelo squad.
The 33-year-old, whose contract with CSC expires at year’s end, was reported to have signed a two-year deal with Katusha. That team, financed by a group of Russian companies, which has also recently snapped up Australian Robbie McEwen, Belgian Gert Steegmans and Italian Filippo Pozzato. Sastre, however, dismissed the report as speculation.
“I have not signed with Tinkoff (Katusha). I vehemently deny it,” Sastre said after Wednesday’s stage. “When I make a decision about my future everyone will know it with an official statement.”
Sastre, a climber, became the third consecutive Spaniard to win the Tour de France in July, after Alberto Contador (2007) and Oscar Pereiro (2006).
Katusha is linked to Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov, and enjoys the backing of sponsors including energy giant Gazprom and energy and real estate company Itera.
Sastre was later said to be on the brink of signing a two-year deal with the Canadian Cervelo team. Other reports have predicted that Sastre will sign with the U.S.-based Garmin-Chipotle team.