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Milram's Tour de France dilemma

Most teams would be happy at the luxury of having two top sprinters. Team Milram hasn't even contested its first race and already finds itself mired in the controversy of "who's number one." It was assumed that Italian star Alessandro Petacchi would ride the Gir d'Italia, leaving the Tour de France to German Erik Zabel. But the Giro route planners didn't consult with these plans, and after having seen the route, Petacchi said, "Maybe I will have to take another look at my program and focus on the Tour de France instead."

Zabel, who just won the Six Days race in Munich with Robert Bartko, said diplomatically, "I look forward to riding the Tour with Petacchi." However, team sponsor Nordmilch Konzern is looking to foreset all potential problems. "First we have to discuss it with our Board of Directors, who are responsible for such things," Nordmilch spokesman Harald Schomacker told "We are having our team presentation on January 10 in the Bremen area. We will try by then to clear up the situation," he concluded.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer