Collado Villalba is a city about 25 miles northwest of Madrid. The entire downtown has been transformed into a staging area for the Vuelta. The team buses lined two of the streets hubbing from large fountain at city center. Over at the CSC camp, a huge crowd formed around the bike labeled “Carlos Sastre” over an hour before the team even began emerging from the bus. Even walking around, about a dozen people asked me “donde esta la bici de Sastre?” Apparently I looked like some sort of expert for whatever reason.
Denis Menchov entered today’s 25km time trial with a very comfortable 3’31” lead on the GC. Nonetheless, the big event today was all about Carlos Sastre. The crowd thickened to about ten-deep around in the first straightaway from the start ramp. The noise levels amplified as he got closer to the ramp and when entered the ramp, the crowd was deafening with half cheering and half chanting his name. The Spanish love their Sastre.
Another Spaniard, Samuel Sánchez, would ultimately be the victor, edging out Menchov by 12 seconds.