Rick Zabel, son of six-time Tour de France Points Classification winner Erik Zabel won the U23 German national championships at the weekend. The 18-year-old finished ahead of Nikodemus Holler and Michael Koch. Zabel is riding his first year at the U23 level for the Rabobank Continental team.
"I never expected this," said Zabel after the race. "once it was down to three I knew each of us has a medal. I was initially uncertain about the three-man sprint, but it worked out great," he said on Rad-net.de.
The younger Zabel was a frequent visitor to the top step as a child, his father taking him up to collect his green jersey at the finish of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. The time however, the upcoming German champion stepped up to collect his jersey based on his own merits.
Zabel will have little time to soak-up his victory as he continues his preparation for the U23 UCI Road World Championships which begin with the Elite women team time trial on 16 September. Last year Zabel was Germany’s top placed rider, finishing fifth in the 126km Junior road race.