In case anyone has forgotten, this is what you see when you look up the definition of grand tour specialist:
Let's refresh our memories shall we (btw, G/T/V refer to Giro/Tour/Vuelta and the # refers to final GC place)?
- 2000: V8
- 2001: T20
- 2002: G38; T10
- 2003: T9; V35
- 2004: T8; V6
- 2005: T21; V2
- 2006: G43; T3; V4
- 2007: T4; V2
- 2008: T1; V3
- 2009: G4
In summary, Carlos Sastre has finished top 10 in a GT 13 times, top-5...8 times in the last 5 years. He was in fact finishing top-10s when baby Schleck was still riding 650 wheels.
Why he will win?
We know that hehas the pedigree, but why will he win this year? Well, we saw in this years Giro (and last years tour) that when Carlos decides it's time to go up, not many have the ability to stay with him. We still haven't seen him try this on Bert, but I don't care who you are...to follow those attacks will take you deep into your suitcase of courage.
We also know that while not dominant, he can hold his own in longish end of GT ITT's. Last year in the Tour's 53km ITT he came in only 2'13 behind Tony...not too shabby.
Why won't he win?
5 letters: THnHH
CTT's dual goals for this years tour may jsut be Sastre's Achilles heel. Sprinters being the bane of the GC riders existence has been much discussed here, and I feel that we may see this played out this year. It's not that Sastre won't have enough support. Cuesta, JAGM and Gustov will be pletny of support for the early climbs, and Carlos has demonstrated that he has an impecable nack for using his competetors as domestiques...he just sits on their wheels until he's good and ready to go. However, if he does take the maillot jaune anywhere before Ventoux, I worry about the rest of the team's ability/desire to control the race for Carlos, especially if TH or HH are anywhere near being in contension for the maillot vert.
Sastre opens his favourite can o' whoop ass on the Ventoux and drops everyone but Bert who works with him to open up a big gap taking Sastre to the second step, and cementing Berts win. Bert gifts him the stage win to proove that he is no Lance. Sorry Chris, I think Andy will finish lower in the top 5...he just hasn't face this kind of competition over 3-weeks.