Erik Zabel

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Erik Zabel
Erik Zabel, Mendrisio 2009 - Men Elite.jpg
Erik Zabel in 2009
Personal information
Full name Erik Zabel
Nickname Ete
Born (1970-07-07) July 7, 1970 (age 44)
East Berlin, East Germany
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 69 kg (152 lb; 10.9 st)
Team information
Current team Team Katusha
Discipline Road
Role Sprint coach
Amateur team(s)
TSC Berlin
Professional team(s)
1993–2005 Team Telekom
2006–2008 Team Milram
Managerial team(s)
2009–2011 Team Columbia-High Road
2012– Team Katusha
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
Points Classification (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
12 Stages
Vuelta a España
Points Classification (2002, 2003, 2004)
8 Stages

One-day races and Classics

German National Road Race Championships (1998, 2003)
UCI Road World Cup (2000)
Milan – San Remo (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001)
Paris–Tours (1994, 2003, 2005)
Amstel Gold Race (2000)
HEW Cyclassics (2001)

Erik Zabel (born July 7, 1970 in East Berlin) is a former German professional road bicycle racer who last raced with Milram. With over 200 professional wins he is considered by some[1] to be one of the greatest German cyclists and cycling sprinters of all-time. Zabel won a record nine points classifications in grands tours including wearing the final green jersey in the Tour de France a record six consecutive years between 1996 to 2001 and the points jersey at the Vuelta a España in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Zabel won the Milan – San Remo four times and numerous six-day track events. For season 2012 he joined Team Katusha as sprint coach.[2] He previously held that same position with the HTC-Highroad team until their dissolution.


Erik Zabel at prologue of the Tour de France 2006 in Strasbourg

Zabel grew up in East Berlin. After good results as an amateur, he became a professional in 1992 for a small German team. In 1993 he changed to Team Telekom (later T-Mobile Team). There he became a good sprinter. His strength was all-round ability: he could climb reasonably well. This meant that, apart from taking the maillot jaune in the Tour de France thanks to time bonuses, he could pick up further victories when other sprinters had retired and take the maillot vert to Paris. One memorable victory in securing the green jersey was in the 2001 Tour de France when his competition with Australian Stuart O'Grady continued to the final stage in Paris, where Zabel's better placing took the green jersey off O'Grady's shoulders. However, he was beaten by Australian Robbie McEwen in 2002, 2004 and 2006 and Baden Cooke in 2003. In October 2003 Zabel was awarded the Ruban Jaune for winning Paris-Tours with a record average speed for a one day race of 47.55 km per hour. The record stood until 2010 when Oscar Freire won Paris-Tours riding at an average of speed of 47.73 km per hour.[3]

In 2004, Zabel began the season losing what would have been his fifth Milan – San Remo to Óscar Freire because he lifted his arms to celebrate too soon. Then, after 9 victories throughout the season (and 18 second places) Zabel ended as he had begun it: second behind Freire, this time in the world championship in Verona.

He was one of the few road cyclists of recent times who raced all year, including track cycling in winter.

Zabel stayed competitive into his late thirties, twice winning stages in the 2006 Vuelta a España and finishing second in the 2006 world championship. He won stage seven at the 2007 Vuelta a España, benefiting from a crash two kilometers from the finish that blocked all but a small group of riders. He won several other 2007 races and helped teammate and fellow sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, leading him to several wins in big races.

On April 27, 1994 Zabel tested positive for clostebol metabolites in Veenendaal. He was fined 3000 Swiss francs and lost 50 points . A suspension on probation was cancelled.[4]

In September 2008 Zabel said he would retire the following month.[5] In December 2008 he joined the Columbia team as an advisor, to work alongside riders such as Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Mark Renshaw.[6] Cavendish rode critical portions of the Milan – San Remo course twice with Zabel and won.

Doping offence[edit]

On May 24, 2007 Zabel and former Team Telekom team-mate Rolf Aldag admitted using EPO to prepare for the 1996 Tour de France. Zabel told at a press conference he experimented with it for a week and stopped due to side effects. He apologized for lying about using EPO in the past.[7] His confession was triggered by accusations by former Team Telekom masseur Jef d'Hont and the confessions of Bert Dietz, Udo Bölts and Christian Henn, all former members of Team Telekom. D'Hont's book, of which excerpts were printed in the German political magazine Der Spiegel in April 2007, accused members of Team Telekom of systematic doping with EPO in the mid-1990s.[8]

His name was also on the list of doping tests published by the French Senate in 24 July 2013 that were collected during the 1998 Tour de France and found positive for EPO when retested in 2004.[9] As a result of this report, Zabel admitted to doping from 1996 to 2004.[10] Also as a result Zabel was suspended from his coaching role with Team Katusha and resigned his membership of the UCI's Professional Cycling Council.[11]

In July 2013 Zabel finally admitted to and revealed the level of his truth-bending. He told the German publication that he actually used the substance between 1996 and 2003, as well as other banned products and methods. “EPO, cortisone, then even blood doping: it is still a big deal,” he said.[12]

Major achievements[edit]

As of February 2007, Zabel has 192 victories as a professional, more than any other active rider.[13]

Grand Tours
Tour de France: 12 stages, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002,
Maillot vert: Points classification (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001; 2nd 2002, 2006; 3rd 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008)
2 days in maillot jaune: General classification leader (1998, 2002)
Vuelta a España: 8 stages, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007
Blue with yellow fish jersey: Points classification (2002, 2003, 2004)
Other one-day classics and stage races
UCI Road World Cup: (2000)
Deutschland Tour: Points classification (2002, 2006, 2007); 13 stages, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007
Tour de Suisse: Points classification (2002); 8 stages, 2001, 2002, 2007
Tirreno–Adriatico: Points classification (2002)
Milan – San Remo: (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001)
HEW Cyclassics: (2001)
Amstel Gold Race: (2000)
UCI Road World Championships road race: Silver Medal (2nd 2002, 2nd 2006)
Germany German National Cycling Championships Road Race: (1998, 2003)
Paris–Tours: (1994, 2003, 2005)
Rund um den Henninger Turm: (1999, 2002, 2005)
Grote Scheldeprijs: (1997)
Ronde van Nederland: Points classification (2002); 4 stages, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003
Six Day track cycling
Six Days of Munich: (1995 with Etienne de Wilde, 2001 with Silvio Martinello, 2005 with Robert Bartko, 2006 with Bruno Risi)
Six Days of Dortmund: (1996, 2000, 2001, 2005 with Rolf Aldag; 2006 with Bruno Risi; 2008, 2009 with Leif Lampater)
Six Days of Bremen: (2009 with Leif Lampater)
SixDayNight, Büttgen: (2006 with Bruno Risi)
Six Days of Berlin: (2009 with Robert Bartko)
Tour de France
1995: 90th overall; 5th, points; 1st, Stage 6; 1st, Stage 17
1996: 82nd overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points, green jersey; 1st, Stage 3; 1st, Stage 10
1997: 66th overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points green jersey; 1st, Stage 3; 1st, Stage 7; 1st, Stage 8
1998: 62nd overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points green jersey; 1 day in yellow jersey (after Stage 2)
1999: 89th overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points green jersey;
2000: 61st overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points green jersey; 1st, Stage 20
2001: 96th overall; Jersey green.svg1st, points green jersey; 1st, Stage 1; 1st, Stage 3; 1st, Stage 19
2002: 82nd overall; 1st, Stage 6; 1 day in yellow jersey (after Stage 3); 11 days in green jersey; 2nd, points;
2003: 107th overall; 3rd, points;
2004: 59th overall; 3rd, points;
2006: 86th overall; 2nd, points;
2007: 79th overall; 1 day in green jersey; 3rd, points;
2008: 43rd overall; 3rd, points;

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marszalek, Daniel. "Ranking" (in Polish). 
  2. ^ "[1], October 19, 2011,
  3. ^ Gives details of 2010 edition of Paris-Tours.
  4. ^ [2] Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 21, 1997, (German)
  5. ^ "[3] VeloNews, September 26, 2008,
  6. ^ "[4], December 3, 2008,
  7. ^ Westemeyer, Susan (2007-05-24). "Zabel and Aldag confess EPO usage". Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  8. ^ Masseur wirft Team Telekom systematisches Doping vor Der Spiegel, April 28, 2007
  9. ^ "French Senate releases positive EPO cases from 1998 Tour de France". 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Grohmann, Karolos (30 July 2013). Osmond, Ed, ed. "Doping -Team Katusha suspends Zabel after doping admission". Reuters. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Team Milram". Retrieved July 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Nils Schumann
German Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Sven Hannawald