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Dave Zabriskie didn't win his second stage of the 2005 Giro d'Italia, but his performance more than confirms his status as one of America's hopes for the future. Riding in his American national jersey for the first time, Zabriskie posted an early fast time only to see it surpassed by team-mate and winner Ivan Basso and Vladimir Karpets.
With his stage win in the Giro's first week, Zabriskie is making waves as a possible successor to six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. "I'm not thinking about the future too much right now. I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy racing again," Zabriskie said. "I want to build on this year and improve and get stronger next year. I had a few years where I lost my momentum.
The laid-back Utahan was referring to two horrible crashes that nearly ended his career. In 2003, he slammed head-first into a car while descending one of the narrow canyons in Utah, breaking his left leg and wrist. He missed the remainder of the season and came back in 2004 fully recovered only to crash again at Redlands, a small American stage-race in March when he suffered a concussion that left his cycling future in doubt.
Zabriskie put everything into returning strong from the injury and wanted to finish his final year with US Postal on a good note. He didn't know if he'd be a professional cyclist anymore. That determination paid off with a victory at the Vuelta a Espa¤a, the US national time trial title and fifth in the world time trial championships.
Zabriskie has so impressed Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis with his "perfect time trial position" and his equally strong climbing abilities that the big Dane has the American on the short list to make the Tour de France squad.
As always, Zabriskie is non-plussed by all the attention. "It's always a good possibility to make the Tour, but the team is full of strong riders," he said. "If I go, it's cool, if not, there are a lot of other races."
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