Spain's Carlos Sastre received a hero's welcome Wednesday when he returned to his hometown of El Barraco after becoming the third Spaniard in a row to win the Tour de France over the weekend.
Hundreds of ecstatic supporters cheered when the 33-year-old held up his yellow jersey during a welcome ceremony held outside of El Barraco's town hall under bright sunshine.
Sastre dedicated the jersey to the roughly 2,000 residents of the town located some 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Madrid who he said had seen his love of cycling develop.
"I love cycling, I love it now and I hope I will love it throughout my life," he told a press conference.
He said he planned to take part in the Tour of Spain in September after taking part in the Olympics in China next month.
Sastre said he was confident that the five-man cycling team that Spain is sending to the Games, whom he described as "good friends," would put in a good performance. We're all going with our homework done," he said.
Spain's Alberto Contador won the Tour de France, cycling's showpiece event, last year and Oscar Pereiro claimed the 2006 title when American Floyd Landis was stripped of his win after a doping scandal.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008