Erik Zabel

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Erik Zabel Road cycling
Erik Zabel at Around the Henninger Tower 2006
Erik Zabel at Around the Henninger Tower 2006
To person
Nickname Ete
Date of birth July 7, 1970
nation GermanyGermany Germany
discipline Street
Driver type sprinter
height 1.78 meters
Racing weight 69 kilograms
End of career 2008
1996-2003 EPO doping , cortisone , blood doping
TSC Berlin
RC Olympia Dortmund
Team (s)
Telekom / T-Mobile
Most important successes
Grand Tours
Green jersey Points classification Tour de France 1996-2001
12 stage victories in the Tour de France
Blue jerseyPoints assessment Vuelta a España 2002-2004
8 stage victories Vuelta a España
World championships
silverRoad World Championship 2004 , 2006
bronzeRoad World Championship 2002
Cycling world cup
World Cup jersey Cycling World Cup 2000
UCI world rankings
World ranking first for 107 weeks
German championship
MaillotAllemania.svg German champion - road race 1998, 2003
Milan – Sanremo 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001
Paris – Tours 1994, 2003, 2005
Amstel Gold Race 2000
HEW-Cyclassics 2001
Last updated: May 14, 2019

Erik Zabel (born July 7, 1970 in East Berlin ) is a former German cyclist . In his career, the specialist in sprints and one-day races achieved over 200 victories (the figures fluctuate between 201 and 211). At the Tour de France , in which he participated every year from 1994 to 2008 with the exception of 2005, he won the green jersey six times . In 2009 he ended his active career. In 2013 he confessed that he had doped with EPO , cortisone and autologous blood from 1996 to 2003 .

Origin, family

Zabel grew up in the Berlin district of Marzahn as the son of the cyclist Detlef Zabel and his wife Marianne. He is married and has a son, Rick Zabel , who also competes in cycling. The family lives in Unna- Kessebüren.

Driver profile

Along with the Italian Mario Cipollini, Zabel was considered one of the best sprinters of the late 1990s. In contrast to Cipollini, however, Zabel developed into an all-round driver who was also able to put himself in the limelight with classics . Zabel was a sprinter who among these specialists also had good mountain qualities. As a road professional who originally came from the track , he was repeatedly successful in the winter six-day races.

Cycling career

Youth and amateur time

Zabel applauds Frank Seeland on January 4th, 1989

Zabel achieved his first major international success at the Junior World Championships in 1988 (fifth in the points race ). A year later, the 19-year-old became a member of the GDR national team. As early as 1989, Erik Zabel was GDR champion with TSC Berlin in the 4,000-meter team pursuit on the track. In 1990 he was also one of the best GDR drivers, became national champion and won his first stage race with the Ardennes Tour .

After the reunification in the GDR, Zabel moved to RC Olympia Dortmund under Hennes Junkermann . Second place at the German road championships paved the way for him to join the first all-German world championship team in 1991. Erik Zabel finished fourth at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. After these results as an amateur , he switched to the professional camp at Team Telekom in 1993, with his successor, Team T-Mobile , he was under contract until the end of 2005.

Professional career

Zabel at the German Championship 2004 in Freiburg
Zabel at the German championship in single road driving, Mannheim 2005
Erik Zabel at the prologue of the Tour de France 2006
Zabel is bid farewell to Herbert Watterott (right) at the 98th Berlin Six-Day Race in 2009, his very last race
Munich Olympic Walk Of Stars in the Olympiapark, Munich

In 1994 Zabel celebrated his first victory in a classic at Paris Tours . However, Zabel did not come into the public spotlight until 1995, when he replaced his team colleague Olaf Ludwig as the best sprinter of the Telekom team with two stage wins in the Tour de France .

In 1996, Zabel wore the green jersey of the driver with the best points in the Tour de France for twelve days and was able to win this special overall classification for the first time, which he should have achieved six times in a row by 2001. Overall, he drove “in green” on 88 days.

With twelve stage wins, Zabel achieved more daily successes in the Tour de France than any other German cyclist. With 14 participations in the Tour de France, Zabel was a long German record holder, but in 2012 Jens Voigt broke the record with 15 participations.

At the Tour de France 2003 Erik Zabel and his teammate and friend Rolf Aldag were accompanied by the director Pepe Danquart . This resulted in the documentary Hell Tour , which was released in 2004.

Erik Zabel announced his resignation on September 26, 2008. He drove his last road race in Germany on October 3rd, 2008 at the Münsterland GIRO .


In 1997 Zabel won the Italian spring classic Milan – Sanremo for the first time , one of the five so-called “ monuments of cycling ”. He was able to repeat this success in 1998, 2000 and 2001. In 2004 he forgave the victory in the sprint finals when, with the feeling of sure victory, he did not go through the sprint to the finish line and let Óscar Freire just pass by.

In 2000 and 2001 Zabel reached the peak of his career. In addition to numerous other victories, he won two World Cup races each, took the overall World Cup victory (2000) and the lead in the world rankings (2001). Not least because of this success, he was voted German athlete of the year in 2001.

2002 to 2004

In 2002 Zabel was able to defend his lead in the world rankings, but not celebrate any great success. In 2003 he achieved three daily victories at the Vuelta a España and his eighth World Cup victory at Paris-Tours.

In 2004 Zabel again won the blue jersey of the best in points at the Vuelta a España . In autumn, Zabel won the silver medal behind Óscar Freire at the World Championships in Verona .

Zabel's consistency over the season is also reflected in the cycling world rankings, which he was able to take over three times between 2001 and 2004. In 2003 he was awarded the yellow ribbon for the fastest average speed in a cycling classic.

2005 season

In 2005, Zabel won his first win of the season in the race around the Henninger Tower in Frankfurt, making it the first cyclist to win this race for the third time. From May 7th to 29th, he took part in the Giro d'Italia for the first time in his professional career . However, he missed the jersey of the points classification at the Giro Maglia ciclamino (color: alpine violet red) .

In the team management of the T-Mobile team it was decided not to include Zabel in the Tour de France team, but instead to rely solely on overall victory with Jan Ullrich .

On July 31, 2005, on the sidelines of the HEW Cyclassics, Zabel announced his departure from the T-Mobile team at the end of 2005. At the 2005 road cycling world championship in Madrid, it was announced that Zabel would be at the side of Alessandro Petacchi for the newly created from 2006 onwards Team Milram (main sponsor Nordmilch) would drive. The newly created team took over the ProTour license from Domina Vacanze ; the tourism company withdrew from sponsorship.

At the Tour of Spain , Zabel took second place several times behind the Italian sprint star Alessandro Petacchi. Zabel's last big race of the season and also the last race in the magenta jersey was Paris – Tours, which he won - it was also his third victory in this race after 1994 and 2003. This makes him the fourth driver to achieve this triple triumph (after Gustave Danneels , Belgium: 1934, 1936 and 1937; Paul Maye , France: 1941, 1942 and 1945; Guido Reybrouck , Belgium: 1964, 1966 and 1968).

2006 season

For the 2006 season there was no distribution of roles between the two captains, Zabel and Petacchi - this should be determined from race to race according to the importance of the races and the interests of the drivers. Zabel competed twice with Petacchi, in which he was the captain himself: around Cologne and around the Henninger Tower. Zabel came in fourth. It wasn't until May 24 that he was able to celebrate his first win of the season at the Bayern Rundfahrt .

For the season highlight, the Tour de France, it was planned that the Petacchi and Zabel tandem would play a decisive role in the sprint. But during the Giro d'Italia in May, Petacchi broke his kneecap and so Zabel was the sole captain of Team Milram on the tour. There he was one of the five best sprinters of the tour and finished second in the battle for the green jersey, but his best positions of the day were only two third places.

At the Germany Tour , Zabel could again come up with a good overall performance and individual actions. Especially on the 6th stage of the tour he showed himself to be an outlier. After 186 km of solo journey, which he mostly completed with the Gerolsteiner driver Sebastian Lang , he was not only able to consolidate his lead in the ranking for the jersey of the best in points to the point that it was only theoretically possible to take it away from him after that stage, but himself also enter the points gained on the Hahntennjoch as 5th in the mountain classification.

With the victory on the 4th stage of the Vuelta a España , Zabel was able to achieve his first ProTour victory in 2006. Zabel achieved another Vuelta stage win on the final stage in Madrid. As captain of the German team, Zabel was second in the final sprint against the Italian Paolo Bettini at the 2006 road cycling world championship in Salzburg , thus repeating his placement at the 2004 road world championship in Verona.

2007 season

First, Zabel was able to win the Bremen six-day race, and he also came second twice in the Lotto tour and once in the Four Days of Dunkirk . In the larger tours he was able to record two stage wins and a second place as well as victory in the overall standings at the Bayern Tour and a first and third stage place in the Tour de Suisse.

After Alessandro Petacchi's suspension, Zabel was the captain of the Milram team in the Tour de France , achieved two second places and a third place in individual stages and wore the green jersey for one day.

At the Deutschland Tour , Zabel won the 3rd stage from Pforzheim to Offenburg in the sprint and secured the red jersey of the best in points for the 7th time thanks to further good placements.

On the 7th stage of the Vuelta a España , Zabel prevailed against the Australian sprinter Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) and the equally sprinting world champion Paolo Bettini.

2008 season

Erik Zabel started the 2008 road season in the Algarve Tour with a part of the team, while his co-captain Alessandro Petacchi took part in the Tour of Andalusia with the other part of the team. The two captains did not start together until the Tour of Valencia - Zabel then won the second stage, his driver Alberto Ongarato finished eighth, Petacchi did not take part in the final battle.


Zabel delivered a positive doping test on April 27, 1994 in Veenendaal. He was cortisone proven. Zabel appealed on the grounds that he had taken an ointment for sitting discomfort. He was then fined 3,000 Swiss francs and downgraded by 50 points in the World Cycling Association's rating. A suspended ban has been lifted.

On May 24, 2007, Zabel confessed at a press conference that he had doped with EPO for a week at the 1996 Tour de France . He had the drugs obtained from Jef D'hont , a masseur from the Telekom team. Zabel described the use of the hormone during the tour as a kind of test phase, which he ended after a rapid deterioration in his health values. After that, he never doped again. After the doping confession, he should return the green jersey. Since his offense was statute-barred at this point in time, Erik Zabel will continue to be listed on the official list of winners and will not receive any further punishment.

On July 24, 2013, the report of the Anti-Doping Commission of the French Senate published the results of their examinations of the 1998 Tour de France. It was based on new test procedures that were used in 2004 to analyze anonymised urine samples from 1998. In 1998, when Zabel won his third green jersey, it has not yet been tested for EPO. The investigation report from 2013 listed the identification numbers of the two samples tested positive, which, according to consistent media reports, can be assigned to Zabel. Four days later, Zabel admitted that he had been doping with EPO, cortisone and autologous blood from 1996 to 2003.

After an active sporting career

Zabel in 2017

After completing his active career, Erik Zabel worked as a consultant for the HTC Highroad team from 2009 to 2011 , where he was primarily at the side of the sprinters led by Mark Cavendish . In addition, since October 2009 he has been represented on the ProTour Council of the International Cycling Federation UCI as the successor to BDR President Rudolf Scharping .

In January 2011, Zabel was introduced as the sports director of Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg. Furthermore, he was supposed to act as the sports director of the Cologne six-day race in November 2012 , but this did not take place. In October 2011, Hans-Michael Holczer signed Erik Zabel for the Katusha team as the sporting director .

Zabel resigned from these functions in August 2013 after his second doping confession and was no longer active as the sports director of the Cyclassics.

In December 2018, Zabel was introduced as a member of the staff of the Katusha Alpecin racing team, his son Rick's team. As a performance manager, he took on tasks in training and team management. At the same time, he remained active for the bike manufacturer Canyon, for whom he acted as a brand ambassador and advisor to young riders from 2009 until his doping confession in 2013. He then stated that he was looking for work for a year before he started working for Canyon again and joined the company as a Adviser was involved in the development of bicycle tires.

Most important successes

One day race
Overall winner of the 2000 Cycling World Cup
Milan – Sanremo 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001
Paris – Tours 1994, 2003 and 2005
Amstel Gold Race 2000
HEW-Cyclassics 2001
Around the Henninger Tower in 1999, 2002 and 2005
Around Cologne 1996, 2004
Classic Haribo 1994
Scheldt Prize Flanders 1997
Trofeo Luis Puig 1997, 2000 and 2001
Sparkassen-Giro Bochum 1999
German championsGerman road champion in 1998 and 2003
silver Road World Championships 2004 and 2006
bronze UCI Road World Championships 2002
Round trips
Overall ranking Ruta del Sol 1997
Green jerseyPoints classification ( green jersey ) Tour de France: 1996 , 1997 , 1998 , 1999 , 2000 , 2001
Yellow jerseyScoring ( blue jersey ) Vuelta a España: 2002 , 2003 , 2004
Yellow jerseyRed jerseyScoring Germany Tour: 1999 , 2000 , 2001 , 2002 , 2003 , 2006 , 2007
twelve stages Tour de France: 2/ 1995 , 2/ 1996 3/ 1997 1/ 2000 3/ 2001 1/ 2002
eight stages Vuelta a España: 3/ 2001 , 2/ 2003 , 2/ 2006 1/ 2007
thirteen stages Germany Tour: 1/ 1999 3/ 2000 3/ 2001 , 4/ 2002 1/ 2003 1/ 2007
eight stages Tour de Suisse: 2/ 1995 1/ 1997 , 2/ 2001 , 2/ 2002 1/ 2007
Eighteen stages Bavaria Tour : 2/1997, 2/1998, 2/1999, 1/2000, 4/2001, 1/2002, 1/2003, 2/2004, 1/2006, 2/2007
nine stages of the Catalan Week : 3/1996, 2/2000, 2/2002, 2/2003
eight stages of the Aragon Tour : 3/1994, 1/1995, 2/1998, 1/1999, 1/2002
seven stages Tirreno – Adriatico : 1/1993, 1/1995, 3/1998, 1/2000, 1/2002
Six stages of the Tour of Valencia : 1/1997, 1/1998, 1/1999, 1/2000, 1/2001, 1/2008
Three stages of the Tour of Luxembourg : 1/1996, 1/1997, 1/2002
two stages international peace voyage: 2/2004
Six days race
Dortmund : 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Munich : 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Bremen: 2007, 2009
Berlin : 2009

Grand Tour placements

Grand Tour 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Maglia Rosa Giro d'Italia - - - - - - - - - - - 63 - - 80
Yellow jersey Tour de France DNF 90 82 66 62 89 61 96 82 107 59 - 86 79 43
Golden jersey Vuelta a España - DNF - - - - - 86 69 72 43 63 62 72 49
Legend: DNF: did not finish , abandoned or withdrawn from the race due to timeout.


Web links

Commons : Erik Zabel  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. I've been doping for years. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013 .
  2. ^ Resignation of Erik Zabel. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . September 26, 2008, accessed July 14, 2015 .
  3. Team Telekom: Zabel and Aldag - doping confession with tears. In: Spiegel Online . May 24, 2007, accessed July 14, 2015 .
  4. Report fait au nom de la commission d'enquête sur l'efficacité de la lutte contre le dopage, Tome II: Annexes , pp. 66–68, online (PDF; 76.6 MB), accessed on July 24, 2013
  5. Ullrich and Zabel doped with Epo at Tour de France 1998. In: July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013 .
  6. ↑ Professional cyclist Erik Zabel: "My guilt will always be with me". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . July 28, 2013, accessed July 14, 2015 .
  7. Union Cycliste Internationale: General organization / UCI ProTour Council. Retrieved November 16, 2009 ( Memento July 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Zabel is the new sports director of the Hamburg Cyclassics on
  9. 6-day race back in Cologne. In: Kölnische Rundschau. March 29, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2017 .
  10. ^ "Official: Zabel advises Katusha" in Kicker from October 20, 2011, accessed on October 20, 2011
  11. from July 30, 2013: Zabel withdraws from professional cycling
  12. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau: Zabel no longer sports director at Cyclassics in Hamburg. Retrieved December 7, 2018 .
  13. Erik Zabel in an interview: Team Katusha-Alpecin Performance Manager. In: July 30, 2019, accessed February 12, 2020 .
  14. ^ For the first time with son Rick: Zabel will be with Katusha in the future. Retrieved December 7, 2018 .
  15. Bike manufacturer Canyon stands by Zabel - new project planned with ex-sprint star | Cycling at Retrieved December 7, 2018 .
  17. Two years after confessing doping: Erik Zabel is now doing tires. Retrieved December 7, 2018 .