By Gregor Brown in Castelfidardo
Slipstreams's David Zabriskie had a repeat performance of the Salzburg World Championships during Tirreno-Adriatico's stage five time trial. The 29 year-old rider from the United States held the top honours for most of the day until Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) stole the show by 22 seconds.
"It was disappointing, some day I will get him," said Zabriskie of the two-time Time Trial World Champion and former Team CSC team-mate. "I am chipping away. He is on really good form for the Classics, and I am in okay shape, so it is a good sign."
Zabriskie is one of Slipstream Chipotle's leaders and the USA-based team will take him to the Giro d'Italia this May. The American won the Firenze time trial stage there in 2005 and will have the upper hand this year on the parcours laden with time trialling kilometres.
"I am for sure on the Giro d'Italia team," he said. "I will take the stages as they come, day by day."
He is going back to his European base in Girona, Spain, after the final stage of Tirreno on Tuesday. Zabriskie plans on spending some time on his mountain bike in preparation for the Critérium International, March 29-30, and the Tour of Georgia, April 21-27
Zabriskie noted the strong performances of team-mate Steven Cozza in Belgium's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Italy's Monte Paschi Eroica. "He is strong and really aggressive, he has impressed me a lot," he said. "I saw in Belgium and in California he was well."
However, he thinks that the youngster may be following in his footsteps a little too closely, with Cozza recently sporting a Zabriskie-like moustache. "Cozza is trying to steal my thunder, he copied me," laughed Zabriskie. Cozza, however, told the situation differently, saying that it was the other way around and that Zabriskie was inspired by the 23 year-old.