Spaniard Carlos Sastre of Team CSC-Saxo Bank said he is looking ahead to the first Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees this Sunday, after losing more ground in his bid to stay close to the yellow jersey.
Sastre lost over a minute to Australia’s race favourite Cadel Evans in the fourth stage time trial and on Thursday lost a further six seconds to the Australian.
The 11.5km climb to the first ‘summit’ finish preceded a nervous but thrilling finish which saw Italian climber Riccardo Riccò triumph ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Aussie rival Evans.
Sastre got caught in a headwind, losing further time on his rivals, but he said his legs will come good on Sunday’s 224km ninth stage to Bagneres de Bigorre.
“At the end everyone was watching and wondering who was going to take control and try to make the race even harder,” said Sastre. “We saw a strong Caisse d’Epargne team working for Valverde. There was quite a bit of headwind and that made it a bit more difficult. But personally, I’m feeling good. I’m managing to easily stay in front and now I’m waiting for the harder mountain stages in the Pyrenees, which suit me better.”
Sastre is now 12th overall at 1:34 behind new race leader Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg, who rides for Team Columbia.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008