Erik Zabel may have decided to leave T-Mobile to seek other opportunities elsewhere for the last year or two of his career, but the popular German sprinter will still lead T-Mobile's efforts at the ProTour Eneco Tour of the Benelux, which starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 3 and runs until August 11.
The team will be going for stage wins in the eight-day tour, which divides its time between Belgium and the Netherlands. The parcours is mostly flat, but does include some of the terrain used for the Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege Spring classics.
T-Mobile is therefore fielding a team of sprints and Classics specialists. "That's why we have a strong and fit Erik Zabel on board," said Frans van Looy who will manage the team for the tour.
Zabel will be accompanied by Dutch riders Bram Schmitz and Bas Giling, who are expected to be well motivated for their de facto national tour.
André Korff, Eric Baumann and current Russian champion Sergey Ivanov will also be there to support Zabel, as well as taking their chances in breakaway groups. Van Looy is confident that Baumann can follow up on his stage win at the recent Tour of Luxembourg. "Maybe Eric Baumann can finally bag a ProTour stage win for himself," he said. 2005 Tour of Flanders runner-up, Andreas Klier, and Christian Werner complete the team.