Cycling - Giro Ditalia 2008

By: Emeli Dean
The Giro d'Italia 2008 contains in total 21 stages, ten of them are already completed. The 91st Italian Tour started on May 10th with a 25,5 kilometer long team time trial. The route led from Palermo in a loop around 11,4 kilometer north and then on the Mediterranean coast back to Palermo. After the cyclists could take a break on the first of two rest days they had to continue with the first individual time trial of the Giro on Wednesday, March 20th.

The 25-year-old Spaniard Alberto Contador came by an injury on his forearm bone on the 8th stage which is worse than expected. The Tour de France winner will despite his fracture keep up until Milan. Even though he could feel the pain of his injury in the training days he is very satisfied with his performance on the last stages. "All cyclists know that such a tour is hard work. Due to the fracture it is not getting to be easier. But I am motivated to fight against the pain and continue until Milan. I do not have the intention to give up." With almost seven minutes backlog he occupies the fourth place.

For the German bicycle racer Erik Zabel it is the second participation in the Italian Tour after 2005. Since the team T-Mobile preferred to concentrate only on their favorite Jan Ullrich and did not want to appoint Zabel at the Tour de France 2005 he announced his switch to the newly created Team Milram in the middle of the year. He spent in total 13 years with the T-Mobile team which was known as the Team Telekom from 1991 to 2003.

One week before beginning of the Giro 2008 the Italian top cyclist Alessandro Petacchi announced that he will not participate in the Giro due to bronchitis. For that reason his team-mate Erik Zabel stepped in for him and will be joined by Markus Eichler and Enrico Poitschke.

On May 5th the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) delivered he verdict of a ten month suspension for Petacchi. He was tested positive for a medication used for bronchial asthma or chronicle bronchitis. The medication is listed on the world wide validated doping schedule. The court announced that the verdict was decided due to the violation of the special permission for the use of the medication. The suspension is retroactive until August 31st 2008. Consequently he was dismissed summarily and does now have to face the end of his career.

Erik Zabel is heading for the end of his 15-year career. He counts to one of the most successful German cyclists. At the beginning of this year he announced that the season 2008 will probably be his last one. But the decision is not final; maybe this great season will change his mind. At the halftime of the Giro takes a positive stock. Twice he was very close to the stage win but couldn't take over the Italian Daniele Bennati. But he still has a couple of chances left.

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