Sastre Leaves Team CSC-Saxo Bank for Cervelo TestTeam
After seven years with Team CSC-Saxo Bank 33-year-old Carlos Sastre leaves Team CSC-Saxo Bank after the 2008 season to ride for the new team Cervelo TestTeam.
Carlos Sastre has been one of the most prominent profiles in the big stage races for a number of seasons culminating with his victory this year in the greatest of them all - the Tour de France.
“I’ve had seven unforgettable years with this team and together we’ve shared some fantastic moments. Everything must come to an end and I’m now looking to find new motivation and opportunities with a brand new team. I would like to take this opportunity to say a deep-felt thank you to Bjarne Riis and everyone, who has been a part of the family, which Team CSC Saxo Bank has been for me,” said Carlos Sastre.
"We are very proud and pleased to confirm that Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has signed to ride for Cervelo TestTeam," said Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervelo.
"Carlos was the first rider who signed for our new team," Vroomen told Roadcycling.com and added that "With his incredible kindness as well as his hardworking and determined character we consider Carlos to be the ideal man to embody the attitude and spirit of our new Team. We at Cervelo, as well as our partners at Zipp, Speedplay, Vittoria and 3T, have long considered him a friend, so we are ecstatic that he is willing to support this pioneering venture. This is a new and unconventional format, but, to his credit, he instantaneously jumped on board and we are very appreciative of that. We are now in the process of building a great team around him and there will be more exciting announcements in the near future."
“Of course I would have liked to keep Carlos on the team, but I respect his decision to reach for new goals with a new team. His victory this year was a mile-stone for us and the greatest possible result of our work together. He’s been a fantastic rider to have on the team and we wish him all the success and happiness in the world. And after all it’s not entirely over yet – I’m hoping he’ll be able to finish off this season with a great result in the 2008 Vuelta,” commented Bjarne Riis.
The news of Sastre's goodbye comes at a time where many things are changing around Team CSC-Saxo Bank. It has now been known for months that team sponsor CSC will leave the team at the end of the 2008 season. Last week Cervelo announced that they would launch their own team, coined Team Cervelo-TestTeam, and Riis Cycling announced that Team Saxo Bank will ride on Specialized bikes from the beginning of the 2009 season.
Roadcycling.com founder Thomas Valentinsen made the following comment after learning that Sastre will leave Team CSC-Saxo Bank. "First Bjarne Riis had Tyler Hamilton on his team, but lost him to Team Phonak. Then he had Ivan Basso, but lost him to Team Discovery Channel. Now he has Carlos Sastre, but he calls it quits and heads for Team Cervelo TestTeam. Some people might start to see a pattern here." Continuing his analysis Valentinsen added that "I see three possible reasons. Either Team CSC-Saxo Bank lacks the funding necessary to keep the major stars, or the team spirit may not be as great as both riders and staff is busy telling us, or, finally, perhaps Riis is too stingy and not willing to spend the money it takes to extend contracts with major stars. Lance Armstrong never left his team."
It could be that an era in cycling is coming to an end. Perhaps Team Saxo Bank will not be able to claim to be the best team in the world. As things look now the team will not have any major overall contenders for the three Grand Tours. They have the Schleck brothers who are still young and still need to gain experience and develop physically and they have Cancellara who is great when it comes to time trials and single day races, but so far lacks climbing ability. Can a team without a major Grand Tour star rightfully claim to be the world's best team?
Stay tuned to RoadCycling.com as we cover news about the evolving Team Cervelo TestTeam and the future of Team CSC-Saxo Bank.