After finishing fifth on Stage 9 and fourth yesterday, T-Mobile's Erik Zabel is edging ever closer to a stage victory in his first the Giro d'Italia. With the real mountains starting today, the 34 year-old is one sprinter who is able to get over the climbs and make the time cut a little easier than his rivals, so his chances of a win will naturally increase as the days tick by.
"I felt very strong today. But it the end I just lacked that bit of extra pep need to get my nose ahead," said Zabel after the stage finish in Rossano Veneto.
T-Mobile directeur sportif Valerio Piva was satisfied with the team's performance, and is optimistic about Zabel's chances in the final week of the race. "It went well for us. Erik did well to latch onto McEwen's back wheel, but unfortunately, it just wasn't enough for him to steal it!" said Piva on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "But Erik's form is getting better each day. If he can get over the mountains okay, then we will be in with a shout in the final sprinters' stages."