Erik Zabel, 14 years as a professional and 36 years-old, knows a lot about the world of cycling....
DNA and Jan Ullrich
Erik Zabel, 14 years as a professional and 36 years-old, knows a lot about the world of cycling. "Cycling is my second family," said the German in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It is not work but passion, fun, love. I consider myself very fortunate."
Perhaps because of this "passion" Zabel will continue racing to the end of 2008, when he will be 38 years-old. He passed the Festina Affair in 1998 but this last summer his "second family" was jolted by OperaciÃ³n Puerto.
"In these months there is greater confusion, and the confusion has poisoned our sport," continued Zabel in regards to the investigations following the raids of Eufemiano Fuentes' offices. "You are not able to go forward like this because in sport it is necessary to have certainties. ... You are not able to go with these doubts to the startline of a race."
Before switching over to Milram at the beginning of 2006, signing a three-year contract, Zabel was very much a T-Mobile man. He would have likely stayed with the pink-coloured team had he not been made to feel unwanted.
"We were together for 11 years in the same team," Zabel replied when referring to former teammate Jan Ullrich and Ullrich's involvement in OperaciÃ³n Puerto. "Then he no longer wanted me. I called [Rolf] Aldag to talk with Jan, but he said to me 'he is not found or responding.' Ullrich should have had more interest and respect for the others. ... [Now] at the most we say 'ciao.'"
When referring to the blood bags seized from Fuentes and the state of cycling, Zabel says he is in favour of DNA testing. "With the DNA tests we could have certainties right away, and that is what we need."