MADRID // Carlos Sastre's victory in the Tour de France was the best possible consolation for being barred from competing in the race, according to last year's winner Alberto Contador. The Spaniard said: "As I was unable to defend my yellow jersey, the best thing that could happen is for a compatriot to win the race." Contador, who finished ahead of Cadel Evans to win the 2007 Tour, was unable to defend his crown after his Astana team were not invited to compete in the race because of their previous involvement in doping scandals.
Contador, who joined the revamped Astana outfit at the start of the season, won this year's Giro d'Italia after having to make a sudden change in his planning after receiving a late invitation to ride in the race. Contador said he was delighted that Sastre had made it three wins in a row for Spain on the Tour, a run begun by Oscar Pereiro in 2006. "I'm especially pleased that Carlos Sastre is going to win it because he has spent his whole career improving one step at a time," he said.
The foundation for Sastre's triumph came with his thrilling attack on the Alpe d'Huez on Wednesday which resulted in a stage win. Contador added: "In Alpe d'Huez, Sastre was valiant enough to attack from the bottom of the climb and now he has produced the time trial performance of his life." * Reuters