Canada Cycling at the limit - Zabel: "It's also about contracts"

13:15  07 august  2020
13:15  07 august  2020 Source:   sport1.de

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Kurze Saison, höherer Druck: Am Samstag fährt Rick Zabel von Mailand nach Sanremo. © imago images Short season, higher pressure: On Saturday Rick Zabel is driving from Milan to Sanremo.

The complete WorldTour in just 101 days, there is no time to breathe in cycling. While the Tour of Poland continues after its tragic start with Fabio Jakobsen's bad fall, the spring classic Milan-Sanremo will take place at the same time on Saturday in midsummer. The wheels have to roll. For the battered teams and the drivers, the races are existential after more than four months of a Corona break. It's about sponsorship money, race premiums, contracts, and, and, and.

The mental pressure seems to be higher

The races are driven accordingly hard. "With one or the other, the mental pressure to want to deliver in a relatively short season plays a part. It is also about contracts," said Rick Zabel of the German press agency. The son of the former German top sprinter Erik Zabel (50) can count himself lucky that his contract was extended to 2022 during the Corona break. And his racing team Israel Start-Up Nation is not in financial trouble thanks to the billionaire team owner Sylvan Adams. Five-time tour winner Chris Froome will even join the team for the new season.

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For many colleagues, the future is still open, and some teams are also on the brink. Usually the contracts for the new season are closed in August after the Tour de France. Everything is different this time. Since there are many races at the same time, the chances of racing and good results decrease. The long break from racing heated up the drivers a lot, said ex-sprint star Marcel Kittel (32) the "Münchner Merkur" and added: "They all want to show themselves now. (...) All stood like the racehorses in the stable for five months and couldn't show what they could do. That will certainly play a role if an extra risk is taken in the sprints. "

Second wave? "Then everyone has to subordinate themselves"

And who knows whether the season can even go through. The number of infections is rising again in Europe, as Rick Zabel noticed. "You have a bit of a queasy feeling," says the 26-year-old and adds: "If there really is a second wave, then everyone has to subordinate themselves, be it football, Formula 1, tennis or cycling." It would be a "bitter blow" for his industry if the Tour de France did not take place. Because the Tour of France is essential for many teams.

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will continue to run for the time being. On Saturday, Zabel junior will be involved in Milan-Sanremo. The race that was pretty much the first to be canceled in March due to the pandemic. Well, five months later, in midsummer - but still over a difficult 299 kilometers. Even if the 26-year-old is not one of the contenders for victory, his name in Sanremo naturally makes people sit up and take notice. "In Italy people are always pricked up by the name Zabel. But it's not that it opens any doors for me or makes the race easier."

The father cheered five times on the Via Roma

Zabel senior had cheered five times on the Via Roma. Once a little too early when the Spaniard Oscar Freire shot past in the last few centimeters in 2004. "I was there that year, I can remember it. It was a bittersweet day. I watched the other victories on TV," says Rick Zabel, who no longer needs tips from his father.

"I'm slowly getting into the old rabbit department myself," says the father-to-be. In Sanremo it is intended for co-pilot Davide Cimolai. The aim is to be in the final - against stars such as ex-world champions Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) or last year's winner Julian Alaphilippe (France).

Canadian Woods becomes Froome's team mate in Israel .
© Alvaro Barrientos / AP / dpa Chris Froome's team mate in the Israel Start-up Nation team: Michael Woods from Canada. The Canadian Michael Woods is joining the Israel Start-up Nation cycling team. There, the good mountain rider will take on the role of the noble helper of the four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome in the coming season, as the Israeli racing team announced. Woods should also lead the team as the captain of classics. The 33-year-old won the Milan-Turin race last year.

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