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Zabel wins his third Paris-Tours

German sprint king Erik Zabel sensationally brought the curtain down on his career with the T-Mobile team by claiming a record-equallng third victory in Paris-Tours Sunday. Zabel, riding his last race for the German outfit after 13 stellar seasons, dominated a rare bunch sprint in the one-day classic to beat Italian Daniele Bennati of Lampre by half a wheel. Australia's Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) finished third with Australian champion Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) fourth. Zabel, the winner here in 1994 and 2003, produced a powerful burst in the final meters of the 253.5km race to

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By Agence France Presse

Zabel takes a narrow victory at the line

Zabel takes a narrow victory at the line

Photo: AFP

German sprint king Erik Zabel sensationally brought the curtain down on his career with the T-Mobile team by claiming a record-equallng third victory in Paris-Tours Sunday.

Zabel, riding his last race for the German outfit after 13 stellar seasons, dominated a rare bunch sprint in the one-day classic to beat Italian Daniele Bennati of Lampre by half a wheel.

Australia’s Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) finished third with Australian champion Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) fourth.

Zabel, the winner here in 1994 and 2003, produced a powerful burst in the final meters of the 253.5km race to deny Bennati, who had pulled inches ahead of Davis.

Erik Zabel factfile:

Date of birth: July 7, 1970
Place of birth: Berlin
Height: 1.76 m
Weight: 69 kg

Main victories (from an estimated 184)

One-day races:
Milan-San Remo 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001
Paris-Tours 1994, 2003, 2005
Amstel Gold Race 2000
HEW-Cyclassics 2001
German national championship 1998, 2003
Tour of Berne 1993
Classic Haribo 1994
Tour of Cologne 1996, 2004
Luis-Puig Trophy 1997, 2000, 2001
GP de l’Escaut 1997
Tour of Berlin 1997
Grand Prix of Frankfurt 1999, 2002, 2005
World Cup overall 2000

Major stage races:
Tour de France: Winner of 12 stages. Two in 1995 (Charleroi, Bordeaux), two in 1996 (Nogent/Oise, Gap), three in 1997 (Plumelec, Bordeaux, Pau) one in 2000 (Troyes), three in 2001 (Boulogne-sur-Mer, Seraing, Evry), one in 2002 (Alendon)
Points classification (green jersey) 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 (record)
Wore yellow jersey for two days (one in 1998, one in 2002)
Tour of Spain: winner of six stages. Three in 2001, two in 2003, one in 2004

Moments earlier, a 50-strong peloton had swallowed up early escapees Philippe Gilbert and Stijn Devolder of Belgium only 150 meters from the finish line.

Gilbert was raging as his bid for victory on the 2400-meter-long Avenue de Grammont came to an end. However, Zabel was positively beaming as he claimed a rare hat-trick of victories on a race which before Sunday had finished in a bunch sprint only once since 1997.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Zabel. “I wanted to say farewell to T-Mobile by winning here and I’m delighted I could. The sprint was long and difficult, Bennati kept me on my toes all the way to the finish.”

Gilbert and Devolder used the Crochu climb, around 27km from the finish line, to leap away from a trio of riders – Dutchman Joost Posthuma, Spaniard Ivan Gutierrez and Frenchman Stephane Berges – who had enjoyed a long breakaway together. But despite building a minute lead on the chasing peloton Gilbert and Devolder failed to make it count.

Zabel, who has been with only one team throughout his hugely successful career, winning the Tour de France green points jersey six times – now shares the Paris-Tours record with Belgian Guido Reybroeck, who won the race three times between 1964 and 1968.

The 35-year-old former East German is set to move to the Italian-German Milram team at the end of the season, where he will join up with fellow sprinter Alessandro Petacchi of Italy, who is leaving Fassa Bortolo.

Zabel hoists his third Paris-Tours trophy

Zabel hoists his third Paris-Tours trophy

Photo: AFP

“It will be difficult to leave after 13 years. I had 12 superb years with the team, a lot of happiness and a lot of great results.

“This last season has perhaps been the most difficult,” he added, referring to his non-selection for the Tour de France. “But I don’t regret a thing. I also learned a lot this year.”

The final race of the Pro Tour is next Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy. The inaugural series was wrapped up last weekend by Liquigas-Bianchi all-rounder Danilo Di Luca of Italy, when he finished fourth behind compatriot Paolo Bettini, the reigning Olympic champion.

Paris-Tours
1. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile
2. Daniele Bennati (I), Lampre
3. Allan Davis (Aus), Liberty Seguros
4. Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto
5. Alberto Ongarato (I), Fassa Bortolo
6. Auralien Clerc (Swi), Phonak
7. Julian Dean (NZl), Credit Agricole
8. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner
9. Uros Murn (SLO), Phonak
10. Enrico Gasparotto (I), Liquigas-Bianchi
FULL RESULTS

ProTour standings – after Paris- Tours
1. Danilo Di Luca (I), 229 pts
2. Tom Boonen (B), 171
3. Jan Ullrich (G), 140
4. Lance Armstrong (USA), 139
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kz), 136
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), 131
7. Bobby Julich (USA), 130
8. George Hincapie (USA), 129
9. Alessandro Petacchi (I), 128
10. Davide Rebellin (I), 126
FULL RESULTS

Photo Gallery

Results

Paris-Tours
1. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile

2. Daniele Bennati (I), Lampre

3. Allan Davis (Aus), Liberty Seguros

4. Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto

5. Alberto Ongarato (I), Fassa Bortolo

6. Auralien Clerc (Swi), Phonak

7. Julian Dean (NZl), Credit Agricole

8. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner

9. Uros Murn (SLO), Phonak

10. Enrico Gasparotto (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

11. Stefan Van Dijk (Nl), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech

12. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), CSC

13. Stijn Devolder (B), Discovery Channel

14. Filippo Pozzato (I), Quickstep

15. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC

16. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto

17. Matti Breschel (Dk), CSC

18. Anthony Geslin (F), Bouygues Telecom

19. Marcus Zberg (Swi), Gerolsteiner

20. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Illes Balears

21. Nazon Jean-Patrick (F), Ag2r Prevoyance

22. Steven De Jongh (Nl), Rabobank

23. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole

24. Lars Bak (Dk), CSC

25. Philippe Gilbert (B), Française des Jeux

26. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quickstep

27. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval

28. Lilian Jegou (F), Française des Jeux

29. Alexandre Usov (Blr), Ag2r Prevoyance

30. Jimmy Casper (F), Cofidis

31. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner

32. Bram De Groot (Nl), Rabobank

33. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak

34. Roy Sentjens (Nl), Rabobank

35. Rony Martias (F), Bouygues Telecom

36. Mathew Hayman (Aus), Rabobank

37. David Etxebarria (Sp), Liberty Seguros

38. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears

39. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis

40. Sven Renders (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

41. Franck Renier (F), Bouygues Telecom

42. Heinrich Haussler (G), Gerolsteiner

43. Marco Zanotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

44. Benoit Salmon (F), Agritubel

45. Martin Perdiguero M.angel (Sp), Phonak

46. Sébastien Hinault (F), Credit Agricole

47. Karsten Kroon (Nl), Rabobank

48. Nicolas Inaudi (F), Cofidis

49. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner

50. Roger Hammond (GB), Discovery Channel

51. Angelo Furlan (I), Domina Vacanze

52. Bingen Fernandez (Sp), Cofidis

53. Rafael Nuritdinov (UZB), Domina Vacanze

54. Angel Gomez (Sp), Saunier Duval

55. Gregory Rast (Swi), Phonak

56. Christophe Kern (F), Bouygues Telecom

57. Arvesen Kurt-Asle (Nor), CSC

58. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), Discovery Channel

59. Matej Jurco (SLO), Domina Vacanze

60. Benjamin Levecot (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

61. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe), Française des Jeux

62. Matteo Tosatto (I), Fassa Bortolo

63. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Liquigas-Bianchi

64. Frederic Guesdon (F), Française des Jeux

65. Vicente Garcia Acosta (Sp), Illes Balears

66. José Luis Rubiera (Sp), Discovery Channel

67. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros

68. Andreas Klier (G), T-Mobile

69. James Van Landschoot (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

70. Angel Vicioso (Sp), Liberty Seguros

71. Angel Edo (Sp), Saunier Duval

72. Steffen Wesemann (Swi), T-Mobile

73. Guido Trenti (USA), Quickstep

74. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto

75. Marc Wauters (B), Rabobank

76. Cédric Vasseur (F), Cofidis

77. Jan Hruska (Cz), Liberty Seguros

78. Nick Nuyens (B), Quickstep

79. Renaud Dion (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

80. Gregory Habeaux (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

81. André Korff (G), T-Mobile

82. Rolf Aldag (G), T-Mobile

83. Viatceslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel

84. Daniel Navarro (Sp), Liberty Seguros

85. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quickstep

86. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (B), Discovery Channel

87. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis

88. Eric Baumann (G), T-Mobile, at 00:13

89. Paolo Bossoni (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 00:15

90. Marco Velo (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 00:15

91. Lorenzo Bernucci (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 00:18

92. Alessandro Ballan (I), Lampre, at 00:18

93. Samuel Dumoulin (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 01:25

94. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 01:41

95. Mickael Delage (F), Française des Jeux, at 01:41

96. Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Domina Vacanze, at 01:41

97. Buffaz Mickaël (F), Agritubel, at 01:41

98. Arnaud Gerard (F), Française des Jeux, at 01:47

99. Jeremy Roy (F), Française des Jeux, at 01:47

100. Mauro Gerosa (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, at 01:47

101. Nicola Loda (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, at 02:26

102. Magnus Backstedt (Swe), Liquigas-Bianchi, at 02:26

103. Roberto Laiseka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 02:39

104. Juan Antonio Flecha (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, at 02:39

105. Chris Horner (USA), Saunier Duval, at 02:39

106. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Domina Vacanze, at 02:39

107. Imanol Erviti (Sp), Illes Balears, at 02:39

108. Matthias Pronk (Nl), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 02:39

109. Lloyd Mondory (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 02:39

110. Manuel Quinziato (I), Saunier Duval, at 02:39

111. Salvatore Commesso (I), Lampre, at 02:39

112. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank, at 02:39

113. Johan Verstrepen (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 02:39

114. Nico Sijmens (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 02:39

115. Wouter Weylandt (B), Quickstep, at 02:39

116. Thomas Voeckler (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 02:39

117. Bjorn Leukemans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 02:44

118. Mark Scanlon (IRL), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 02:56

119. Frederic Gabriel (F), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 03:19

120. Ben Day (Aus), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 03:19

121. Gorka Gonzalez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 03:19

122. Gorka Verdugo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 03:19

123. Vicente Reynes (Sp), Illes Balears, at 03:19

124. Hubert Dupont (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover, at 03:19

125. Mikel Pradera (Sp), Illes Balears, at 03:19

126. Franck Bouyer (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 03:19

127. Benoit Vaugrenard (F), Française des Jeux, at 03:19

128. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, at 03:19

129. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 03:19

130. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Credit Agricole, at 03:19

131. Moinard Amaël (F), Cofidis, at 03:19

132. Stefano Zanini (I), Quickstep, at 03:19

133. Wim Vansevenant (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 04:35

134. Mario Aerts (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 04:35

135. Eric Berthou (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover, at 06:10

136. Maxime Monfort (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 06:10

137. Leif Hoste (B), Discovery Channel , at 06:10

138. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 06:10

139. Kim Kirchen (Lux), Fassa Bortolo, at 06:10

140. José Ivan Gutierrez (Sp), Illes Balears, at 06:10

141. Benoit Poilvet (F), Credit Agricole, at 06:26

142. Wim De Vocht (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 06:26

143. Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank, at 06:26

144. Guillaume Auger (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover, at 06:26

145. Joan Horrach (Sp), Illes Balears, at 06:26

146. Yoann Le Boulanger (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover, at 06:26

147. Christophe Riblon (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 06:26

148. Ludovic Martin (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover, at 06:26

149. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Agritubel, at 06:26

150. Yohann Gene (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 06:26

151. Linas Balciunas (Lit), Agritubel, at 06:26

152. Laurent Mangel (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 06:26

153. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Credit Agricole, at 06:26

154. Sacha Urweider (Swi), Phonak, at 06:26

155. Joseba Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 06:26

156. Ignacio Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak, at 06:26

157. Sébastien Chavanel (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 06:26

158. Christophe Agnolutto (F), Agritubel, at 06:26

159. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 06:26

160. Cédric Coutouly (F), Agritubel, at 06:26

161. Erwin Thijs (B), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 06:26

162. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 06:26

163. Cristian Bonfanti (I), Domina Vacanze, at 06:26

164. Robert Förster (G), Gerolsteiner, at 06:26

165. Francisco Ventoso (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 06:26

166. Carlos Barredo (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 06:26

167. Mathieu Criquielion (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 06:26

168. Giosue Bonomi (I), Lampre, at 10:04

169. Aketza Pena (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 11:30

170. Jimmy Engoulvent (F), Cofidis, at 13:04

171. Johan Coenen (B), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech, at 13:04

172. Marcus Burghardt (G), T-Mobile, at 13:04

173. Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 13:04

174. Marco Milesi (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, at 13:04

Did Not Finish
Thomas Bruun (Dk), CSC

Stephan Berges (F), Agritubel

Jens Renders (B), Mrbookmaker.Com – Sports Tech

Jurgen Van Loocke (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

Antton Luengo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

David Lopez Garcia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

Iker Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

Simone Cadamuro (I), Domina Vacanze

Daniele Righi (I), Lampre

Samuele Marzoli (I), Lampre

Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Luca Paolini (I), Quickstep

Francesco Bellotti (I), Credit Agricole

Daniele Nardello (I), T-Mobile

Volodimir Bileka (Ukr), Discovery Channel

Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner

Allan Johansen (Dk), CSC

Lenaoc Olivier (F), Agritubel

ProTour standings – after Paris- Tours

1. Danilo Di Luca (I), 229 pts

2. Tom Boonen (B), 171

3. Jan Ullrich (G), 140

4. Lance Armstrong (USA), 139

5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kz), 136

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), 131

7. Bobby Julich (USA), 130

8. George Hincapie (USA), 129

9. Alessandro Petacchi (I), 128

10. Davide Rebellin (I), 126

11. Denis Menchov (Rus), 109

12. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), 107

13. Michael Boogerd (Nl), 100

14. Cadel Evans (Aus), 99

15. Roberto Heras (Sp), 96

16. Santiago Botero (Col), 95

17. Oscar Freire (Sp), 94

18. Paolo Savoldelli (I), 92

19. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), 87

20. Erik Zabel (G), 86

21. Ivan Basso (I), 86

22. Kim Kirchen (Lux), 81

23. Paolo Bettini (I), 80

24. Daniele Bennati (I), 80

25. Michael Rogers (Aus), 80

Team Standings
1. CSC, 372 pts
2. Rabobank, 341
3. Phonak, 337
4. Davitamon-Lotto, 318
5. Liberty Seguros, 307
6. Saunier Duval, 291
7. Gerolsteiner, 289
8. Discovery Channel, 263
9. Crédit Agricole
261
10. Cofidis, 246
11. Illes Balears, 245
12. T-Mobile, 243
13. QuickStep, 238
14. Fassa Bortolo, 235
15. Liquigas-Bianchi, 221
16. Lampre, 191
17. Bouygues Telecom, 183
18. Domina Vacanze, 152
19. Euskaltel, 147
20. Française des Jeux, 130