For Telekom’s sprint star Erik Zabel, it almost looks too easy. Zabel took stage 2 of the Tour of Valencia in Spain Tuesday, adding to his pile of early season victories by winning a sprint finish in the 179.5km race between Segunto and Denia in eastern Spain.
U.S. Postal Service rider George Hincapie finished third, just behind second-placed Biagio Conte of Italy. Rabobank’s Dutch classics rider Michael Boogerd retained the overall lead by finishing sixth. Right behind Boogerd in the overall are Swiss riders Fabian Jeker and Alex Zulle, along with Italian Leonardo Piepoli, all with the same time as the Dutchman.
For Zabel, the stage win brought his race win tally to five for the month of February. Showing that he has fine form for the World Cup opening Milan-San Remo, March 24, Zabel also won the Luis Puig Trophy race in Spain on Sunday.
TOUR OF VALENCIA, February 27-March 3. Spain.
1. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom, 179.5km in 4:01:33; 2. Biagio Conte (I), same time; 3. George Hincapie (USA), s.t.; 4. Paolo Bettini (I), s.t.; 5. Angel Edo (Sp), s.t.; 6. Michael Boogerd (Nl), s.t.; 7. Erik Dekker (Nl)), s.t.; 8. David Etxebarria (Sp), s.t.; 9. Stephane Barthe (F), s.t.; 10. Javier Pascual-Llorente (Sp), s.t.
1. Boogerd, 8:11:05; 2. Jeker (Swi), s.t.; 3. Zulle, s.t.; 4. Leonardo Piepoli (I), s.t.; 5. Bettini, at 0:07; 6. Edo, s.t.; 7. Etxebarria, s.t.; 8. Dekker (Nl), s.t.; 9. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), s.t.; 10. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), s.t.