Ambitious Zabel sees Cup lead strengthened

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The Independent Online

Erik Zabel, of Germany, won a sprint finish to take the Amstel Gold race on Saturday and strengthen his lead in the World Cup, one of three targets for him this year.

The Deutsche Telekom rider has triumphed in two of the five rounds to date and finished third and fourth in two others. Zabel and 16 others pulled clear with around 20 km of the 257 km race to go. The German sprint specialist stayed together with the pack almost until the end and he again proved his class in the final metres.

The Italian, Davide Rebellin, had tried to break clear on the final climb, but was caught by the sprinters shortly before the line. Michael Boogerd of the Netheralnds, the winner last year, finished second, and his Rabobank team-mate, the Swiss Marcus Zberg, third.