Team Katusha has suspended Erik Zabel following his disclosure that he used doping products throughout much of his career. Zabel confessed to having used EPO, cortisone and blood doping from 1996 to 2004, after his name appeared on the “positive” list for EPO from the 1998 Tour de France.
The team noted that the doping confession refers to his racing years and "do not have any connection with team Katusha whatsoever.” Zabel, who retired in 2008, has served as sprint coach for Katusha since 2012.
“As a member of Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), Katusha follows a strong anti-doping policy,” the team said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.
Katusha is led by Viatcheslav Ekimov, who rode for years on Lance Armstrong's teams and always vigorously defended the American against all doping charges. Last fall Armstrong was banned for life by the USADA on doping charges, which he subsequently admitted.
The Russian team has had four doping cases since 2009, with the most recent being sprinter Denis Galimzyanov (EPO) in 2012. The UCI denied the team a WorldTour licence for the 2013 season, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport ordered the team be given its licence.