By Gregor Brown in Joigny
Erik Zabel came into the Tour de France as sprint leader of Italian-German Team Milram thanks to Alessandro Petacchi's non-start. Alessandro Cortinovis explained how the team is taking its chances where it can get them and leaving Zabel to fend for himself.
"The train is not there these days because with Zabel's characteristics there is not a need for one," explained the tall, 29 year-old Italian. "He is able to arrange his sprint with his experience and he prefers to stay on the wheels of the favourites."
Zabel was perhaps too close to the favourites on Monday when the Tour de France finished in Gent, Belgium. In the sprint into the Flemish city, Zabel touched wheels with Tom Boonen. Manuel Quinziato of Liquigas went down followed by a almost the entire peloton. "He felt bad for what had happened. He was able to stay on his pedals but, unfortunately, the others behind were not so lucky. This is something that happens but he was not happy about it." All the riders were able to finish the stage.
Cortinovis noted that Miriam's philosophy is open at the Tour. "We live for the day. [Andriy] Grivko and [Marcel] Sieberg have tried their luck in attacks. ... I want to try to get in the right escape. I don't know which one." The Italian hinted his day may come on Thursday to Autun or Friday to Bourg-en-Bresse.