By Hernan Alvarez Macias in Madrid
Erik Zabel (Germany) is not having his best season. But in Madrid, there is a small possibility that he can take revenge of his swag of second places behind Alessandro Petacchi in the Vuelta a España. Cyclingnews went to the Eurostars Zarzuela Park Hotel in the surroundings of Madrid where the whole German team is staying to speak face-to-face with one of the greatest sprinters who will start men's road race on Sunday.
"I actually have no idea about what can happen on Sunday," said Zabel. "It's a very open circuit; maybe there are chances for all kind of riders like [Paolo] Bettini, [Alexandre] Vinokourov, and the sprinters." About his chances for the bunch sprint with such a huge rival like Petacchi, he said, "I don't know if I can beat him. Petacchi is very fast and he's nearly unbeatable."
Referring to his season, Zabel went on to say "I'm of course not so happy that I didn't ride in the Tour de France and that was my first time that I didn't do the Tour for years. So, it was not so good for me not to ride the Tour, but after my broken ankle in the spring, I was good in the rest of the classics. I also hope to be good for the rest of the season and now I'm a little bit like in the Vuelta, or maybe a little bit better. I'm happy."