CSC rally around new leader Sastre

onday was a day of rest at the Tour de France - in theory, anyway. But after keeping their legs tur

onday was a day of rest at the Tour de France - in theory, anyway. But after keeping their legs tur

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

CSC turned out with its full remaining complement of six riders to face the press on Monday. Missing, however, was team manager Bjarne Riis, who had taken the Sunday off from the race, too, to spend time with his family at the World Cup final in Berlin, and wasn't due back on the race until Monday evening.

Instead in the hot seat was directeur sportif Kim Andersen, who assured the journalists present that the team was still looking to get something out of the race, despite losing their leader and Tour favourite Ivan Basso.

"We're here to work," Andersen said. "We have a leader now in Carlos Sastre and everyone's working for him, so we're going to do the best we can. On a good day, Carlos can follow the best in the mountains."

For his part, Sastre remained modest about his chances. "I feel calm and I feel ready. Our goal, as a team, together, is to fight in the next two weeks. The last week will be especially tough," the Spaniard said. "Whether I can make the podium, I don't know. I'm the same person now as when I started this race. I was ready to race. The thing happened with Ivan, so now it is my responsibility to do my best for the team, but there are two hard weeks ahead of us."

"Of course, we would have liked it better if the thing with Basso happened two weeks before the Tour rather than the evening before, as it caused real chaos," Jens Voigt, one of the more senior members of the team, said. "But we have to go on."

And speaking for the whole of the team, Christian Vande Velde added: "We're no less motivated to work for Carlos than for Ivan."

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