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Erik Zabel Photo Gallery

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Major wins and high placings | Pro teams | Photos |

Erik Zabel was born July 7, 1970, in East Berlin, back when there was an East Germany. There is no question that Erik Zabel was one of the sport's greatest sprinters. His more than 200 professional victories were the result of a well-rounded athleticism. He not only had a startling turn of speed, in his prime Zabel possessed an exquisite sense of timing that made watching him sprint a real pleasure.

His many points classification wins (including nine in Grand Tours, six in the Tour de France) was due in no small part to his ability to get over high mountains in good time, when many of his fellow sprinters would either struggle to finish within the time limit or abandon (Mario Cipollini never finished a Tour de France).

Beyond a nearly uncountable number of stage and criterium victories, Zabel's win list includes an impressive number of high-value single-day races including four Milano-San Remo victories and three Paris-Tours wins.

Zabel spent the most productive years of his career riding for Telekom. Zabel was part of the 1997 Telekom Tour de France machine that saw his team win the Yellow Jersey (Jan Ullrich), Green Jersey (Erik Zabel), White Jersey (Jan Ullrich), Team Classification and second place in the mountains classification (Jan Ullrich).

While Zabal was a nearly faultless rider, he famously let the 2004 Milano-San Remo slip out of his fingers. Thinking he had the race won, his lifted his hands off the bars to salute the crowd for what should have been his fifth victory in Italy's most prestigious single-day race, but the extravagantly talented Oscar Freire threw his bike across the line and to the win.

Like nearly all riders of the 1990s and early 2000s, Zabel initially denied taking performance enhancing drugs. But, like nearly all good riders of his era, he took them and as evidence mounted, he eventually confessed to using dope from 1996 to 2004.

Major victories and high placings:

1990:

1992:

1994:

1995:

1996:

1997:

1998:

1999:

2000:

2001:

2002

2003:

2004:

2005:

2006:

2007:

2008:

Professional Teams:

1991: Die Continentale
1992: Union Fröndenberg
1993-2003: Telekom
2004-2005: T-Mobile
2006-2008: Milram


Photos:

Erik Zabel in stage 4 of the 1995 Tour de France

1995 Tour de France, stage 4: Mario Cipollini beating Erik Zabel (far left) into second place.

Erik ZAbel wins stage 6 of the 1995 Tour de France

Zabel gets this one. Here he triumphs in stage 6 of the 1995 Tour in Charleroi.

Erik ZAbel rides stage 8 of the 1995 Tour de France

Zabel time trials to Seraing in stage 8 of the 1995 Tour de France.

Zabel climbs in the 1996 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Zabel climbs in the 1996 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That's probably Bjarne Riis behind him in the Danish champion's jersey.

Erik Zabel in the 1996 Tour de France

Erik Zabel time trialing to Val d'Isere in stage 8 of the 1996 Tour de france. Note he using the now illegal Cinelli Spinaci time trial extensions.

Erik Zabel

Zabel ready to ride the 18th stage of the 1996 Tour de France. He's wearing the points leader's green jersey.

Erik Zabel at the 1996 Tour de France

Zabel in the start house of stage 20 of the 1996 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel wins the 1996 Tour de France green jersey

Erik Zabel celebrates winning the 1996 Tour de France green jersey after the final stage in Paris.

Erik Zabel

Erik Zabel wins the 1997 Milano-San Remo. Note the crash behind him.

Erik Zabel at the 1997 Tour de France prologue

Zabel at the 1997 Tour de France prologue.

Erik Zabel wins stage 3 of the 1997 Tour de France

Zabel wins in Plumelec in stage 3 of the 1997 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel

This might be Erik Zabel winning the seventh stage of the 1997 Tour de France in Bordeaux.

Erik Zabel in the Pyrenees

Zabel (in green) climbs the Pyreneeswith a teammate in stage 9 of the 1997 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel cliumbs to l'Alpe d'Huez

Stage 13 of the 1997 Tour de France: Erik Zabel climbs to l'Alpe d'Huez

Team Telekom

Glory days for Team Telekom. Here they are after stage 14, in Courchevel. Telekom owns the Yellow and Green Jerseys and Team Classification. Erik Zabel is to the right, in green.

1997 Tour de france classification winners

1997 Tour de France final classification winners, from left: Richard Virenque (mountains), Jan Ullrich (GC), Erik Zabel (points).

Erik Zabel at the 1998 Milano-San Remo

Zabel wins the 1998 Milano-San Remo.

Erik Abel at the 1998 Tour of Flanders

Zabel riding the 1998 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen).

Zabel win stage 8 of the 1998 Tour de France

Erik Zabel gets it right in stage 8 of the 1998 Tour de France in Montauban.

EWrik Zabel and Marco Pantani

At the start line of stage 16 of the 1998 Tour de France: Erik Zabel and Marco Pantani.

Erik Zabel in the final stage of the 1998 Tour de France

Taking the green jersey home. Erik Zabel rides the final leg of the 1998 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel rides the 1999 Tour de France prologue

Zabel rides the 1999 Tour de France prologue.

\Erik ZAbel

Eric Zabel enjoys l'Equipe before the start of stage 13 of the 1999 Tour de France.

Zabel at the 1998 milano San Remo

Zabel smiles after winning the 2000 Milano-San Remo.

Erik Zabel wins 2000 Amstel Gold

And then Zabel wins the 2000 Amstel Gold Race.

Erik Zabel climbs to Lourdes/Hautacam

Zabel with the other non-climbers ascends to Lourdes/Hautacam in stage 10 of the 2000 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel

Erik Zabel time trials to Mulhouse in stage 19 of the 2000 Tour de France.

Zabel sin in Troyes

Triumph in Troyes. Zabel wins stage 20 of the 2000 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel at the 2000 Milano-San Remo

2001 Milano-San Remo is Zabel's.

Erik Zabel ins stage 1 of the 2001 Tour de France

Erik Zabel wins stage one of the 2001 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel wins stage 3 of the 2001 Tour de France

2001 Tour de France stage 3: Zabel wins in Seraing.

Erik ZAbel in the 2001 Tour de France

Zabel endures a wet day in Vosges in stage seven of the 2001 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel wins stage 19 of the 2001 Tour de France

No longer wearing green, Zabel wins stage 19 of the 2001 Tour de France in Evry.

Erik Zabel in the 2001 Tour de France

Back in green on the Tour's last day. Erik Zabel with Jan Ullrich in Paris at the end of stage 20 of the 2001 Tour de France.

Zabel wins 2001 HEW Cyclassic

After the Tour Zabel won the 2001 HEW Cyclassic in Hamburg.

Zabel racing the 2002 Tour de France prologue

Zabel corners during the 2002 Tour de France prologue.

Zabel rides the 2002 Tour de France team time trial

Zabel is in yellow as he races the team time trial in stage 4 of the 2002 Tour de France.

Zabel wins 2002 Tour stage 6

Erik Zabel wins stage 6 of the 2002 Tour in Alencon.

Erik Zabel with Mario Cipollini

Zabel with Cipollini at the first stage of the 2003 Tirreno-Adriatico. You can see why Zabel could get up mountains and Cipollini couldn't.

Erik Zabel at the 2003 Tour of Flanders

Zabel rides the cobbles at the 2003 Tour of Flanders. That's probably Viatcheslav Ekimov behind him in the US Postal kit.

Erik ZAbel at the 2003 Tour de France

Zabel wearing the Champion of Germany jersey at the 2003 Tour de France teams presentation ceremony.

Zabel races the 2003 Tour prologue

Erik Zabel races the 2003 Tour prologue.

Erik Zabel time trials in the 2003 Tour de France

Zabel time trials to Cap Decouverte in stage 12 of the 2003 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel

Looks like Zabel is running errands for his team at the beginning of stage 14 of the 2003 Tour de France.

Erik Zabel wins 2003 Paris-Tours

Zabel beats a distraught Alessandro Petacchi in the 2003 Paris-Tours.

Erik Zabel at Milano Sanm Remo

Oops! Zabel thinks he's won the 2004 Milano-San Remo but Oscar Freire has thrown his bike acorss the line and won the race.

Stage three of the 2004 Tour de France

2004 Tour de France, stage 3: Zabel (left) loses a close one to Jean-Patrick Nazon

Erik ZAbel at the 2004 World Championships

Oscar Freire beats Zabel again. This is the finish of the 2004 Verona world road championships. Freire gets the rainbow jersey and Zabel gets second place.

2004 World podium

2004 World Road Championships podium, from left: Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire and Luca Paolini.

Erik Zabel at 2005 Milano-San Remo

Zabel descends during the 2005 Milano-San Remo

Erik Zabel in the 2005 Tour of Flanders

Zabel climbs the Molenberg in the 2005 Tour of Flanders.

Erik Zabel

Erik Zabel prepares to time trial from Lamporecchio to Firenze in stage 8 of the 2005 Giro d'Italia.

Erik Zabel wins 2005 Paris-Tours

Zabel (pink T-Mobile kit) wins the 2005 Paris-Tours

2006 Worlds

2006 Worlds: Paolo Bettini (blue, of course) narrowly beats Erik Zabel for the Rainbow Jersey.

Erik ZAbel at the 2008 Tour of Flanders

Zabel (blue Milram kit) climbs wet, slippery cobbles at the 2008 Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Erik Abel retires

September 2008: Erik Zabel announces his retirement at the 2008 World championships.

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