Sometimes you have to wait a while before the truth be told. So lets set the record straight now.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

When 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre announced his decision to leave what was then Team CSC – the team that helped him win that year's race – the move was met by more than a few raised eyebrows.

After the unforgettably audacious, thrilling make-or-break attack on the lower slopes of L'Alpe d'Huez that clinched him the biggest win of his career, on what was arguably the world's strongest team Рto then join an unknown, unproven Pro Continental outfit like the Cerv̩lo TestTeam was akin to madness in the minds of many.

In retrospect, it bears a strong resemblance to Cadel Evans' recent decision to ditch Silence-Lotto for BMC, which, like Cervélo, will enter 2010 as a Pro Continental squad.

When Sastre was asked to comment on the transfer – little more than two months' after his Tour victory – and if it had anything to do with a falling out with the man at the helm and the team's owner, Bjarne Riis (himself a former Tour winner in 1996) or a particular rider, the Spaniard denied any such issue existed.

He simply said he was looking forward to a fresh beginning with a team that was to be run under a different philosophy to that of CSC, to be renamed Team Saxo Bank in 2009. Riis likewise denied the suggestion that the parting of ways was anything other than mutual and cordial.

Such has been Sastre's position since. Same with Riis. Last week, however, the gloves came off.

In an interview with Spanish paper El País, Saxo Bank's new numero uno, Andy Schleck, second at this year's Tour to another Spaniard, Alberto Contador, was asked if relations between he and Sastre were conducive to good teamwork during their time at CSC.

"No, absolutely not. I don't know what his problem was," Schleck replied.

"He won the Tour and everyone watching it who knows a bit about cycling knows that [myself and brother Fränk] sacrificed ourselves for him. But he went to the press and said things that made no sense, like we didn't want to work for him… We were 100 per cent behind [Sastre], we worked for him. He's got something wrong in his head!"

To which Sastre responded with equal pithy: "You have to educate kids and for a young guy to come out and try to educate me is something that I don't understand."

The CSC example did make me think back (six years, in fact) to an interview I conducted with New Zealander Julian Dean (who is now at Garmin-Slipstream) in 2003.

It was mid-October. The European road season was over. Dean was back home with his wife in the smelly town that is Rotorua in NZ's North Island, and had time to reflect on his two years with CSC, where in his most recent, he'd emerged as the team's most successful rider, winning more races than any other.

And at 28 years of age, following seven seasons as a pro, Dean was in his prime. Though quite extraordinarily, he was overlooked for a spot in the team's line-up the following year (2004).

To be fair, he was offered a place, but according to Dean, 'only half of what I was offered from other teams'.

"Normally you would expect to be one of the first riders on the team to be offered a place," Dean said at the time, puzzled as much as I was. "It was almost like they made the offer because they felt they had to, y'know.

"I don't really know why that happened or was given an explanation as to why they acted the way they did with me, so for that reason I felt quite disrespected about the whole issue," he said.

Maybe cycling's maxim should be things are not always what they seem – even on a team that professes to a have a unity unlike any other.

Mind you, managing the abilities and personalities of three potential Grand Tour contenders – which is the enviable position CSC found themselves in at the 2008 Tour – or a cast of Classics stars, as was the case in 2003 – is not a job for the faint-hearted.