Yesterday Carlos Sastre , the 33 year old Spaniard who stands at 1.70 m and weighs just 61 kg won his first Tour de France . He beat the ever present podium bridesmaid , Australian Cadel Evans by a slender margin of just 58 seconds after three weeks of racing . So what made the difference between these two men which gave one victory over the other ?
– The teams – Sastre rides for CSC who were undoubtedly the strongest team in the race . They had at least two other options for overall victory in the Schleck brothers , one of whom will surely be a winner in the future . With domistiques like Cancellara , Voight and O’Grady , Sastre could always be sure to be delivered half way up each climb in the perfect position .
Evans on the other hand rides for the Silence Lotto team . For the past number of years their goal has been to get the other Australian on the team , Robbie McKewan to Paris in the green jersey , which they did . However , a team which works well at chasing down breakaways in the final 20 km does not necessarily perform likewise in the mountains . Van Someren was the only Silence lotto jersey to be seen in the vicinity of Evans when the action began and that wasn’t for very long . The fact that another of their riders Wim Vansevenant took his third lantern rouge ( Last place rider ) also speaks volumes about the teams’ attitude as a whole .
-Training – Sastre is old school . He places little value on power metres and heart monitors and prefers to go by feel . This must surely cause headaches for the CSC team staff who are innovators when it comes to training techniques but it obviously works for Sastre .
Evans on the other hand goes down the scientific route using a powertap to great effect . He is famous for his idiosyncratic , fastidious approach to training , racing and diet .
– Personality – Sastre is generally recognised as a very humble if slightly quirky guy . He see’s himself as just another rider on the team and did not ask for any special treatment . He attacked to win the tour whilst Evans tried to calculate his way to the final time trial where he presumed , incorrectly , that he would take over the race lead .
Evans , on the other hand does not come across quite so well . He hired Lance Armstrongs former bodyguard Serge to keep him away from the public and also brought his own chef as he said that the French food was pretty crap . Telling his friends back home to drink champagne when he took yellow in the middle of the race wasn’t smart . During the tour he headbutted a camera and slapped a number of officials . Call it nerves or whatever you like but riders like Kelly would never have behaved like that !
Evans is good enough to win the tour but the question remains , will he ever do it ? He says that he has another three good tours in him , but he will have to change teams and learn to channel his aggression if he is ever going to wear yellow in Paris !
In the past 2 hours since I began putting this together some of the less impressive clips of Evans striking people have been taken down from youtube so apoligies if any of the above are no longer available .