Zabel to announce future plans on Friday

Erik Zabel has decided what his future plans are and will announce them to the world at a press...

Erik Zabel has decided what his future plans are and will announce them to the world at a press conference Friday in Varese, Italy. It is expected that the 38 year-old will announce his retirement from riding.

"The decision was already made after the Tour de France," Zabel told the sid news agency. "How it will go, I can't and won't say yet. I agreed to that with Team Milram."

According to the dpa agency, Martin Mischel, head of sponsoring and marketing for sponsor Nordmilch, will fly in to attend the press conference, giving credence to speculation that Zabel will continue to work for the team. He has in the past said that he would like to work with young German sprinter Gerald Ciolek, who is leaving Team Columbia and reported to be signing with Milram.

Zabel turned pro with Team Telekom in 1993, and remained with the team through the 2005 season. In 2006 he moved to the newly-formed Team Milram. He is credited with 201 career wins, making him the most successful active pro rider. He won the sprinter's green jersey in the Tour de France six times, and won 12 stages in the race. Zabel won the sprinter's jersey in the Vuelta a España three times, and has won eight stages there. He won his favourite race, Milano-Sanremo, four times, and was twice German national road champion. (SW)

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