Ah, Erik Zabel. Despite being among the oldest and most accomplished riders in the peloton, the guy is still a breath of fresh air. This report (scroll to “Zabel”) shows the 35-year-old’s more sensitive side, revealing that he rode his own personal Tour de France after being left of T-Mobile’s squad (fat lot of good it did them) and that the most difficult good-bye for him was T-Mobile’s team massuer, with whom Zabel has a touching scene in Hell on Wheels. Despite the growing age gap between most riders and the former East German (yeah, remember there used to be two Germanies?), Zabel says he doesn’t feel old because “just like my colleagues, I’m interested in DVDs, I-Pods [sic], ring tones and such things.” I hope when I’m 35 I’m still this awesome. And able to lay down 1400 watts after 200k of racing.
Cyclingnews (which apprently is fighting back against the War on Christmas) spoke with another rider recently as well, France’s Sylvain Chavanel. In stark contrast to the straightforward Zabel, Chavanel’s interview is full of nebulous statements and veiled suggestions. Phrases like “Dreams are something that we canâ€™t really imagine; something inaccessible” make me wonder if the recent dearth of successful French cyclists isn’t due so much to a “peloton at two speeds” as a “peloton operating on two starkly different philosophical levels”. Still, the young Frenchman has been at the head of the race in some of the Classics and a few TdF stages, and might well breakthrough next season.
Because it’s Christmas (Eve) and no one else has anything to say (except this interview with Pat McQuaid at VeloNews, which is too long winded for me to read, and let’s keep in mind, I enjoyed The Education of Henry Adams), I’ve got one last Cyclingnews bit for you. Never one to tend to the pleonastic, CSC’s Dave Zabriskie recently announced he was being sponsored by First Endurance energy foods. Why mention this? Well, here is what the company alleges he said:
“I started taking Optygen four years ago and felt a noticeable change in my breathing and how my muscles fatigued. Combine Optygen with Multi-V and youâ€™re good to go train hard. Multi-V is the only vitamin that has helped with my performance. I love its comprehensive approach to enhancing endurance. Not only does it have important vitamins and minerals, but its enzyme formula give me everything I need to train hard and its antioxidant formula keeps me healthy so I can keep training hard.â€
And that might be more words than I’ve ever seen DaveZ say at a single time, ever. You’d think after dropping a few dollars to get the sponsorship, the company might have taken 15 minutes to at least try and imitate Zabriskie’s voice.