Shorts: Sastre, 2007 Worlds, Vuelta

Sastre explains his decision to start Vuelta and picks out his rivals, Germans check out course of 2

Sastre explains his decision to start Vuelta and picks out his rivals, Germans check out course of 2


CSC's Carlos Sastre has offered further insight into his decision to attempt his third major tour of the season by starting the Vuelta on August 26. "I was a bit unsure of my form, so I wanted to postpone my decision till after San Sebastian. Both to test my form during the actual race but also to see how I felt for a couple of days after. I'm satisfied with the outcome and I feel ready to do the Vuelta," Sastre said on CSC's website.

"In the Vuelta, I have to be in great shape from beginning till end, because it's a tough race with mountains already in the fifth, seventh and ninth stage. You have to be up to it for the entire three weeks."

As far as likely competition is concerned, Sastre admitted: "I don't know yet, especially because you have to stay strong for the whole three weeks. I don't know if [Oscar] Pereiro can do as well as he did in Tour de France. Alexandre Vinokourov might be one of the favourites in the race - he's probably extra ready since he didn't do the Tour and Alejandro Valverde abandoned early in France. The most important thing is that I make sure I do my very best, and then we'll have to wait and see how far that will get me. My only goal so far is to do the best I can and I'm taking it one day at a time from here on."

- The 2006 Worlds in Salzburg aren't with us yet, but some of Germany's likely starters have already been checking out the course for the 2007 championships in Stuttgart. "It's not going to easy. This course takes a lot of climbing skills," said T-Mobile's Linus Gerdemann. A 19-kilometre course will be ridden 14 times, for a total of 266 kilometres. "It will certainly be a real challenge. It is a hard, but fair course," said Gerolsteiner's Marcus Fothen, while his team-mate Stefan Schumacher described it as "a very demanding course, because it constantly goes up and down". The championships will take place on September 26-30 in 2007.

- There will be no lie-ins at the weekends for riders at the Vuelta after race organisers Unipublic decided that all weekend stages in the three-week event would start at around 10 in the morning in order to finish around two "for televisual reasons". The race's technical director Paco Giner said "the possibility exists to increase the audience at that hour". The only weekend stages that won't be affected are the opening team time trial in Malaga on August 26 and the Lugo-Alto de La Cobertoria stage on September 3, which is 206km long and would have started earlier anyway. The upside of the decision is that with stages finishing by 2.30 riders will be able to enjoy an afternoon siesta.

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