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Markus Zberg showing off his fast finish in Dijon (foto by Tim De Waele)
Markus Zberg showing off his fast finish in Dijon (foto by Tim De Waele)

Markus Zberg takes impressive 2nd in Dauphiné sprint finish

8. giugno 2009

Dijon

In another satisfying day for the BMC Racing Team, Markus Zberg earned second place on the stage in an exciting sprint finish. 

Missing out on the victory only by a whisker, the team is extremely satisfied with the recent successes not the least of which is this second place in a Pro Tour sprint.  Edged out by Lampre's Angelo Furlan but beating Tom Boonen to the line, Zberg is happy with the team work and his own well-timed sprint.

Successful day of conserving energy, protecting leaders

"It was a very good day for the team," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue reported.  "We planned not to get into any of the breaks since they were extremely unlikely to succeed and we want to save energy for the coming stages."  The team worked well to keep Brent Bookwalter protected and in good position through the early part of the stage, and then turned their attentions to getting Zberg into the mix for the final sprint.  "Everyone did a good job watching out for Brent and Markus, always riding close together and keeping in position without using too much energy," Lelangue said.  "This is the group that has been competing in European stage races together all year and it is possible to see how much easier it is for them now that they have really gelled together." 

Letting the sprinters' teams do all the work

"In the last 100km of the race or so, Lampre and Quick Step took over the pace making, so all I had to do was watch for their lead," Zberg reported.  "The team worked extremely well for me getting me in position for the last 20km rush to the line."  Though BMC is a team more focused on climbers and time triallists, having a sprinter like Zberg in the squad means that they always have a good chance for getting results in a stage like this.  They are not a team to do lead-outs in a situation top heavy with sprinters, but they certainly know how to drop off a rider in good position.  "Coming out of the last corner I had a really good spot right on Furlan's wheel," Zberg said.  "Furlan had a great lead-out and only started to slow his sprint in the last 50 meters which meant that I didn't have enough time to come over the top of him."  Nevertheless second place is quite a feather in the cap of the current Swiss National Champion.  "It's good for me to have beaten riders like Boonen and Steegmans," Zberg explained.  "I had hoped to come over Furlan too, but he was really strong today. The timing was good though, and I have high hopes for tomorrow." 

Potential for explosive racing into Saint-Étienne Tuesday

"The last 100km of tomorrow's stage are really tricky with narrow roads and always going up and down," Lelangue warned.  "The climbs are normally between 2 and 5 kilometers long which means that the guys will have to be very vigilant and alert."  Though the parcours will accommodate breaks more naturally than the race into Dijon did today, there is still the expectation that the day should end in a bunch sprint.  "There will always be the potential for splits and attacks, but we will not be wasting energy on useless attacks and only go with one if it looks to have GC consequences," Lelangue reported.  "With the time trial coming on Wednesday, it will be important to save energy and we hope that Markus will be able to get over the climbs so that he will be available to make a good sprint at the finish."  Zberg is the type of sprinter who can climb well, so perhaps Tuesday will present him with his best chance of a stage win for the entire Dauphiné.  "The final tomorrow is not that easy so I hope that I can stay with the leaders," Zberg said.  "My condition is good and I am taking the race day by day, but tomorrow I will definitely do my best to stay with the front riders so I can make a try again for the stage win."