July 04, 2009
Sastre prevented from racing in yellow
Tour officials refused to let defending champion Carlos Sastre race today's Stage 1 in Monaco in the yellow jersey.
Since Armstrong's retirement, there was no returning champion in 2006 (Armstrong retired), 2007 (Landis banned, Pereiro not yet named champion), or 2008 (Contador and the rest of Astana barred from racing).
Sastre has been the Rodney Dangerfield of GC candidates, and would probably have liked to remind teams and fans that he was good enough to win this race last year, but the ASO decided the tradition had run its course.
Hood quotes Tour spokesman Mathieu Desplats:
“We decided to stop this tradition,” said Tour spokesman Mathieu Desplats. “It was a tradition, not a rule. It’s a new race, with a new start and new contenders. There’s no reason why to wear the yellow jersey.”
Armstrong's 2003 prologue start looks to stand as the last initial Tour stage with a rider in yellow.
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