Eric Zabel Knew That He Could Beat Petacchi In Sabadell
In every sport it is fundamental to know the terrain on which you are going to compete. The good mountain riders tend to visit the important mountain passґ s before a big race. Almost always they go accompanied by representatives of the press who test the hardness of the ramps and measure its slopes. The sprinters, however, on their own account, visit the streets, on which they compete for the final victory. They also tend to prepare well for the smaller races.
Eric Zabel was very familiar with the pretty straight of Sabadell, and because of it, he won the tenth stage which started in Andorra and finished before the predicted time, covering a total of 194 kilometres. The day turned out to be as exciting and swift as was expected. From the first kilometre, the breaks were consistent and although the escapists continued to get ahead of the peloton, in the end it was the sprinters who prevailed. Moreni, Lopeboselli, Flores, Garcнa Acosta, Mercado, Sevilla, Jeker, Guidi and Gorka all tried very hard but could not get an advantage of three minutes.
Today, we also watched with pleasure how Oscar Sevilla got lucky and managed to break away, though not for long. Seviila is an idol for many cycling fans and throughout the last few days, in particular, at Ossa de Montiel they have suffered and today for the first time, they saw him succeed.
However, the conclusion of the stage had to be played in the final straight in Sabadell. Although Astarloa and Luis Pйrez dominated the last few kilometres again, the pressure imposed by the team Fassa Bortolo was too much to cope with. The last kilometre was certainly worthy of praise as it has been a long time since there was such a complicated finish. With eight or ten riders leading by only a small margain, the riders of Petacchi pinned their hopes on victory the whole way through the race.
Petacchi wanted to win but Zabel was far more familiar with the terrain and he took advantage of the Italianґs hard work to take the final victory. The riders of Telekom showed that miracles can happen. The fact that Zabel beat Petacchi and Isidro Nozal of Once-Eroski is still the Leader is good news. The Cantabrian rider has won himself the Golden Jersey.
Osvaldo Menйndez/Prensa La Vueta.