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Rund um Köln looks to the sprinters

By Susan Westemeyer

Alessandro Petacchi and Gerald Ciolek could battle it out in a sprint finish of the Rund um Köln on April 9, if race organiser Artur Tabat's wishes come true. Both Milram and T-Mobile have announced that they will send their star sprinters to the German one-day race.

Milram's other star sprinter, Erik Zabel, who has won the race twice, will not appear this year. However, the team will send the previous year's winner, Christian Knees.

Gerolsteiner is also planning on sending their top sprinter Robert Förster, who last year won stages in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.

"The early registrations of the German teams point to a sprint finish," Tabat said. "But the outcome of the race in the last few years was never predictable. The public can expect some exciting moments. I figure with a sprint finish."