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Carlos Sastre, who eventually finished fourth in the Tour de France, has hit back at criticism levelled at him and his CSC team by runner-up Oscar Pereiro, who felt the Danish team should have done more to help in the pursuit of Floyd Landis on the road to Morzine. Speaking at a party held in his honour in his hometown of El Barraco, Sastre said: "A number of people were more concerned with me, with what I was going to do, and they lost a very good opportunity for their rider to win the Tour de France.
"If they had taken a clear decision at that moment and hadn't been so watchful of Carlos Sastre, possibly their rider would have won the Tour de France." Sastre added that if he wasn't able to win the Tour he would have liked to have seen fellow Spaniard Pereiro take the title, and also said he "took his hat off" to Landis for his attack to Morzine. He said of the American that day that he could only get back "55 seconds [on the Joux Plane] after he'd been away 110 kilometres". Sastre is yet to decide whether to take part in next month's Vuelta, where he finished runner-up last year.
- The Astana team did not start Wednesday's Ordizia Classic race in Spain after former co-sponsor Wrth refused to let them race with kit carrying their logo. The German company pulled their backing from the team on July 4 in the wake of the furore over the Operacion Puerto investigation in which several are the team's riders are implicated. Spanish newspaper AS, though, suggests there is another reason for the team's lack of race action - the 51 per cent shareholding still held by former team boss Manolo Saiz, who is heavily implicated in the Puerto affair.
Co-owner Pablo Anton reportedly told the Ordizia owners that an apparent block on the team competing should be lifted tomorrow, when the sale of Saiz's share in the team to a group of Kazakh businesses is said to be due for completion. New Astana team manager Tony Rominger asserted, however, that the team's lack of racing is down to the problem with Wrth and said that it is "99 per cent probable that the new team clothing will be ready for Hamburg this weekend".
- Alessandro Petacchi is expected to make his return to racing on the GP Hainleite in Germany on August 12. The Italian sprinter has been out of action since early May, when he suffered a fractured left knee-cap at the Giro. "I've been working hard on regaining my muscle tone, but I'm still five centimetres short of the muscle bulk I have on my right leg," Petacchi explained. "I hope to be able to start and finish the Vuelta so that I can be competitive for Paris-Tours (October 8) and fight for victory there."
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