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Rediff.com  » Sports » Spaniard Sastre wins Tour de France

Spaniard Sastre wins Tour de France

July 28, 2008 10:53 IST

Carlos Sastre became the third successive Spaniard to win the Tour de France on Sunday in another major sporting triumph for his country this year.

Sastre's victory follows triumphs for Oscar Pereiro in 2006 and Albert Contador last year. Contador's Astana team were not invited to this year's race because of their past doping record.

Australian Cadel Evans finished second overall, 58 seconds behind Sastre, who effectively secured victory on Saturday after resisting Evans in the decisive time-trial.

Austrian Bernhard Kohl was third, one minute and 13 seconds off the pace, also taking the polka dot jersey for the best climber.

Carlos Sastre"It's a dream coming true, I have been waiting so long for this," said Sastre, who rides for the winning CSC team.

Towards the end of the Sunday's 21st and last stage, the peloton split and Sastre was in a group that lost seven seconds to Evans and Kohl, but the Spaniard had plenty of time in hand.

The 33-year-old Sastre took the overall leader's yellow jersey by winning Wednesday's last Alpine stage atop l'Alpe d'Huez, one of the Tour's renowned climbs.

It was a great year for Spain on the Tour, with Oscar Freire also becoming the first Spaniard to take the green jersey for the best sprinter.

In the last seven weeks, Spain have also won the Euro 2008 football tournament and Rafael Nadal has clinched a fourth French Open tennis title and his maiden Wimbledon crown.

RIIS'S CHOICE

Sunday's win also belongs to CSC team manager Bjarne Riis, the Dane having decided to give the leadership to Sastre at the expense of Luxembourg brothers Frank and Andy Schleck.

Both sacrificed their chances for Sastre, whose experience on the major tours eventually paid off after 17 unsuccessful attempts on the Tour, the Spanish Vuelta and the Giro d'Italia.

The Madrid-born Sastre was the only man who dared to attack in the Alps, while Evans, who had already finished second last year, tried to limit the damage before the decisive time trial.

The Silence-Lotto rider, biding to become the first Australian to win the Tour, was proven wrong, collapsing in the solo effort against the clock.

Belgian Gert Steegmans of the Quick Step team prevailed in a bunch sprint to win the last stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris, ahead of German Gerald Ciolek and Freire.

The 95th edition of the race was hit by doping affairs.

Spaniards Manuel Beltran and Moises Duenas Nevado and Italian Riccardo Ricco tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.

Ricco's Saunier Duval team left the race when the rider's positive test was announced just before the 12th stage.

Source:
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