|The United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team turned in solid performances in both the U.S. and Europe this weekend, as Dave Zabriskie finished fifth overall at the Redlands Classic while fellow American Floyd Landis shined in the time trial stage at the Tirreno Adriatico stage race in Italy, placing third in Sunday's fourth stage.
On the heels of a fourth place finish in the difficult stage three Oak Glen road race on Friday and a seventh place finish in the stage one mountain time trial on Wednesday, Zabriskie led the USPS team's effort at Redlands. Overall, Zabriskie finished 1:32 back of winner Chris Horner of Prime Alliance. Three other USPS riders - Chann McRae (6th), Michael Barry (9th) and Steffen Kjaergaard (10th) - finished in the top 10.
In Italy, Landis turned in a strong effort in yesterday's 12.7 kilometer time trial in Rieti, finishing just three seconds back of stage winner and new race leader Erik Dekker of Rabobank.
Postal Service Director Sportif Johan Bruyneel said. "I think that when Floyd gains more experience in the big races and works a little on his position, he may be a candidate to race in the Tour de France. He is a good time trial rider and has solid climbing skills. He just needs to be more confident in his abilities and more relaxed in the races. After a couple more races, I believe we can get him there.
"His third place in the time trial at Tirreno Adriatico is a very good result and a morale booster in view of (upcoming events such as) Criterium International and Circuit de la Sarthe, where the time trial will be important for the final result," Bruyneel concluded.
Landis followed up yesterday's performance with another top finish in today's fifth stage, a 150 km race from Rieti to Torricella Sicura. Landis finished in the lead group of 18 riders, placing 13th. The stage was won by Saeco's Danilo Di Luca, the Italian's second stage victory of the event. After five stages, Landis is in 44th place overall, 4:17 back of Dekker. Christian Vande Velde is leading the USPS team in the general classification, holding the 21st overall position, at 1:09.
The seven-stage race concludes Wednesday in San Benedetto.
STAGE 4, TIRRENO ADRIATICO
1. Erik Dekker, Rabobank; 12.7 kms in 15 minutes, 19.68 seconds
2. Ruslan Ivanov, Alessio; at :00.12
3. Floyd Landis, U.S. Postal Service; at :03
4. Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano, ONCE-Eroski; at :05
5. Ludo Dierckxsens, Lampre-Daikin; at :10
22. Christian Vande Velde, U.S. Postal Service; at :28
27. Benoît Joachim, U.S. Postal Service; at :31
45. Gianpaolo Mondini, U.S. Postal Service; at :42
49. Matt White, U.S. Postal Service; at :44
61. Pavel Padrnos, U.S. Postal Service; at :50
84. David Clinger, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:01
GC AFTER FIVE STAGES, TIRRENO ADRIATICO
1. Dekker; 18:09:05
2. Danilo Di Luca, Saeco; at :22
3. Oscar Freire, Mapei: at :23
4. Ivanov; s.t.
5. Guido Trentin, Cofidis: at :24
21. Vande Velde; at 1:09
43. Clinger; at 4:17
44. Landis; s.t.
90. Padrnos; at 13:14
138. Mondini; at 24:04
159. Joachim: at 29:15
176. White; at 37:14
FINAL GC, REDLANDS CLASSIC
1. Chris Horner, Prime Alliance: 11 hours, 5 minutes, 50 seconds
2. Roland Green, Canadian National Team; at :40
3. Soren Petersen, Saturn: at 1:10
4. Trent Klasna, Saturn; at 1:24
5. Dave Zabriske, U.S. Postal Service; at 1:32
6. Chann McRae, U.S. Postal Service; at 2:23
9. Michael Barry, U.S. Postal Service; at 3:06
10. Steffen Kjaergaard, U.S. Postal Service; at 3:07
22. Antonio Cruz, U.S. Postal Service; at 4:56
25. Tom Boonen, U.S. Postal Service; at 5:32
41. Dylan Casey, U.S. Postal Service; at 15:24
DNF - Robbie Ventura, U.S. Postal Service