After finally scoring his first victory this season at the Rund um den Henninger Turm one-day race in Frankfurt, Germany, T-Mobile sprinter Erik Zabel now looks at a triple victory in this race on his long list of successes. And although that made him very happy, the 34 year-old pondered his winning chances publicly yesterday. "In the sprint, I can't move ahead of riders like Petacchi or Freire anymore, so I modified my racing tactics anyway," Zabel said. "I decided to start the sprint early [in Frankfurt - ed.], with 300 metres to go before the line. It feels great that I succeeded to put everybody behind me again - I think I still must be the best one-day racer in Germany yet!"
His T-Mobile squad is also very satisfied with Zabel, as it now counts two victories this season after the impressive win of Alexandre Vinokourov in Belgian Liège last Sunday. "Of course, we were under pressure," Zabel admitted after the race. "It's good to know that an old man like me can still win here!" Zabel, who wants to stay with T-Mobile to finish his career - an exact time has not yet been revealed - is therefore under contract negotiations with his team.
The new contract is planned to include a commitment to the German mobile phone company even beyond his career as a professional cyclist. "That will be a decisive factor," Zabel told German website Radsport-News.com. "I had such an agreement with team Telekom, but the bosses of that time are now in early retirement," he continued. However, the negotiations that will take place over the next there weeks to be finalized before the Bayern Rundfahrt seem prospective. With his victory at the Henninger Turm, Zabel "delivered good arguments" to his wife, who is also his agent. "A change to Gerolsteiner would be dumb. I would only take the pressure with me to another German team," said Zabel over rumours that he might change teams.