Paris-Tours: Zabel delighted with victory

Erik Zabel's win in Paris-Tours on Sunday delighted the German. Besides being his third victory in t

Erik Zabel's win in Paris-Tours on Sunday delighted the German. Besides being his third victory in t
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM T-Mobile's Erik Zabel's victory in Sunday's Paris-Tours was the German's last race of the season, and also his last race for the magenta-clad German squad. "It's a dream come true," a delighted Zabel said. "I wanted to say good-bye to T-mobile with a victory, and I'm very happy to be able to do so." It's Zabel's third Paris-Tours victory, having also won in 1994 and 2003, although the win was only snatched in the last 200 metres of the race on the Avenue de Grammont as breakaway duo Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) and Discovery Channel's Stijn Devolder were swept up. And Zabel's joy was almost overshadowed by the pair's post-race arguing, with Gilbert angered and frustrated with Devolder's reluctance to take his turn on the front in the final kilometre. "He refused," the Belgian raged. "He only needed to take one turn and we wouldn't have been caught." For his part, Devolder suggested that he would have helped his breakaway companion of 26 kilometres a little more if he'd known how close the peloton was. "But what could I do? If I'd ridden to the line and been beaten, people would have said I was stupid, and that I'd ridden like an idiot," said Devolder. "With a kilometre to go, I got on his wheel, because I thought that was the only way I'd have a chance of beating him. The truth is, I didn't know how close the peloton was, but if I had, I would have taken one more turn." And Discovery Channel directeur sportif Dirk Demol defended his man, commenting: "Stijn is not as fast as Gilbert. That's why I told him to stay on his wheel. If he wanted to win, it was his only chance. People only remember the winner - not second place." Zabel will indeed be remembered for his third victory at Paris-Tours, but will be hoping to add more wins next season with his new Milram squad. 1 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 253.5km in 5.37.23 2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros 4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 5 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Phonak 7 Julian Dean (NZl) Credit Agricole 8 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner 9 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak 10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
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