Zabel to lead Milram in Hamburg

Erik Zabel (Milram)

Erik Zabel (Milram) (Image credit: AFP)

Just one day after the conclusion of the Deutschland Tour, the ProTour will head to Hamburg for the Vattenfall Cyclassics. Milram's Erik Zabel will be looking to make up for last year's narrow loss to Oscar Freire while leading the team. The 229.1 kilometre course isn't necessarily one for the sprinters, however, with the short, steep climb up the Waseberg facing the riders three times, the last of which comes with just 16 kilometres to go.

Milram's Ralf Grabsch explained on the team's website,, that the difficulties extend beyond the terrain: "On this course you've got to pay attention to the weather conditions. It's extremely susceptible to wind, so the field might be torn apart early," he explained. "Otherwise the course is flat, everything will concentrate on the final lap. Everybody will try to be in the front on the climb. Whoever has enough power here has a good chance to be in front in the finish as well."

Martin Müller explains that the proximity of the race to the Tour of Germany will change the dynamic as well - last year the race fell one day before the start of the Tour, while this year it is one day after. "It's going to be another race this year. Many riders starting in Hamburg did the Deutschland-Tour before. I think at least 60 per cent. That means they're mixing up with the fresh riders," Müller explained. "We've got nine racing days in our legs from the Deutschland-Tour. Maybe a group goes with fresh riders only. Then we'll have to see how the race develops. Many riders are a bit tired already, so I can imagine that the group won't be let go too far."

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