Sprint duo Zabel-Petacchi at Tirreno

Zabel and Petacchi want celebrate a few victories together in the coming weeks

Zabel and Petacchi want celebrate a few victories together in the coming weeks (Image credit: Régis Garnier)

German team Milram is sending both of its top sprinters to Tirreno-Adriatico. German Erik Zabel and Italian Alessandro Petacchi will tackle the race between the two seas in order to get ready for Milano-Sanremo. The ambitions for stage victories are high, as Tirreno offers several opportunities for the sprinters. Milram has decided to tailor the whole team for bunch sprints and besides Zabel and Petacchi will race in Italy with Italians Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sabatini and Marco Velo, Spaniard Igor Astarloa and the German allrounders Enrico Poitschke and Martin Müller.

At their first joint appearance this year, Zabel and Petacchi each took a stage win in the Volta a Valencia, the end of February. The two Milram stars are responsible for all six wins of the German ProTour team so far this season. A total of five of those victories goes to "Ale-Jet", as the 34 year-old is affectionately called by his fans.

The 44th edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico, which has been run since 1966, runs over 1,122 km in seven days. The stages are relatively flat, without major climbs and are therefore destined for sprinters and allrounders. The traditional race serves many teams as the final preparation for the most important and most famous Italian one-day race, Milano-Sanremo.

Zabel and Petacchi have both won Milano-Sanremo in the past and the duo will hope once again to bring in the victory for Milram. They will also bank on the one kilometre added after the descent from the Poggio, to reel in any last-minute breakaways.

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