Apt reward for battling Zabriskie

After two bad crashes in the last 16 months, it was about time that Vuelta stage 11 winner Dave Zabr

After two bad crashes in the last 16 months, it was about time that Vuelta stage 11 winner Dave Zabr
PICTURE BY LAVUELTA.COM While the Spanish media were frantically reacting to the almost race-ending crash that almost put an end to local favourite Alejandro Valverde's race in his home province, US Postal's Dave Zabriskie was reflecting on the best win of his career after battling through some low times of his own. The US time trial champion admitted that Valverde's early fall had worked in his favour, as the bunch slowed to wait for the Spaniard recover from his fall, but said he felt there was no reason for him to ease off and wait as he had already attacked and was almost a minute clear at the time of the Valverde incident. Zabriskie admitted his attack "was not a team tactic, something that was planned beforehand, it simply panned out the way it did. I wasn't too sure I was going to stay away until the last kilometre." The 25 year old added that the team's assistant DS Dirk Demol had a lot to do with his performance. "Dirk kept yelling into my radio - 'Believe in yourself, believe in yourself.' It helped a lot. I tried not to get too excited and knew there was a long way to go. I just tried to keep it steady. I still quite can't believe it." When asked what was thinking about the time off the front, he added, "I had a Guns 'n' Roses song in my head. I'm not sure which one, though. It's the one where he says, 'They can't catch me, I'm innocent.'" The stage win was especially sweet following two severe crashes in the last 16 months. In May 2003 Zabriskie suffered a broken leg and wrist after being hit by a car while training in Utah, while six months ago he crashed heavily on rough roads at the Redlands Classic. "I am especially happy for him," said Postal team manager Johan Bruyneel. "After all he has went through the last two years - the big accident and then the crash at Redlands - it's amazing for him. He has been riding very strongly and the performance of today, the athletic performance, is a huge one. It was a hard course on which to be alone all day." Bruyneel said of the overall standings, which are still led by Floyd Landis, "The Spanish climbers are getting closer but we are still in the lead. Floyd feels good. He's not feeling tired and is going to fight for it. It will be difficult as there is a lot of climbing to come, but I think he will be very good. It's going to be difficult to win but they still need to take it away from him."
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