By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Telekom’s Erik Zabel won Sunday’s 21st edition of the Luis Puig Trophy, 182km from Benidorm to Valencia, Spain. Zabel won the race for the third time in his career, outsprinting Sven Teutenberg (Festina) and U.S. Postal Service’s George Hincapie.
A trio of Spaniards – Xavier Zandio, Cesar Garcia Calvo and Juan Antonio Flecha – maintained a breakaway of about 100km, but the sprinters’ teams held the threesome in check, finally bringing them back with 8km remaining in the race.
On Tuesday, the five-day Tour of Valencia will commence, marking the debut for Zabel’s teammate, 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich. Also starting the season in Valencia will be Mercatone Uno’s troubled leader, Marco Pantani.
Hincapie will lead the Postal Service, along with Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, while the team’s two Tour chiefs, Lance Armstrong and Roberto Heras, will kick off their racing season next week at the Tour of Murcia.
1. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom, 182km in 4:39:45; 2. Sven Teutenberg (G), Festina; 3. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service; 4. Jan Svorada (Cz), Lampre-Daikin; 5. Creszenzo D’Amore (I), Mapei-Quick Step; 6. Biagio Conte (I), Saeco; 7. Martin Garrido (Arg), Relax-Fuenlabrada; 8. Romans Vainsteins (Lat), Domo-Farm Frites; 9. Filippo Pozzato (I), Mapei-Quick Step; 10. Stephane Barthe (F), U.S. Postal Service.