Zabel likes (most) of what he sees

So far, evergreen 34 year-old Erik Zabel has enjoyed his Giro d'Italia debut, and believes the ProTour was the right step up for cycling, where he says a win now means more than before.

"The first impressions are really good," Zabel said in an interview on the team's website, "It is a really nice race, and very well organised. But having said that, some of the stages, particularly the run-ins, can be really dangerous.

"Whenever riders are really motivated, the racing starts to get nervy and then you get crashes. If we hit tricky sections of road, it can always get messy. But it is not any worse than in other similar races. The Giro's new ProTour status also means that the riders are more motivated and aggressive than in previous years.

Speaking about the ProTour, Zabel commented that it's beneficial to both the teams, riders and sponsors. He said the teams can now plan better, bringing the right riders to the right race; the races have deeper fields and hence better competition, including non-ProTour races; and it also serves as a sound basis for what the sponsors are trying to achieve.

However, the wise-man of cycling did say the ProTour's points system needs some work, a comment made by a large percentage of the peloton. "That is not yet fully sorted out," said Zabel.

"If your consider that there are only three points on offer for a stage win at the Giro or the Tour, compared to 50 for a classics win, then it doesn't really add up. After all, a Tour stage win is not so easy to pull off! I think that there's a clear effort to strengthen the one days, but they should reconsider how they are going about it. But overall, I believe that cycling is on the right track."

Zabel also added that he had a "good, hard talk" with T-Mobile's directeur-sportif Olaf Ludwig about his future with the team once he decides to stop cycling, and will be able to reveal more after the Giro finishes.

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