By Susan Westemeyer
Erik Zabel will be allowed to continue to ride for Team Milram -- at least for this season. In a press release issued this afternoon, the team said that representatives from the team and sponsor had met with Zabel, following his EPO confession last week.
"As a result of his conversation it was decided that Erik Zabel is allowed to fulfil his contract, subject to the definite legal examination ... Whether Zabel will fulfil his three-year contract with Team Milram completely, until the end of 2008, will be decided at the end of the year."
"The decision wasn't easy for us. Team Milram takes the ProTour teams' ethics code very seriously. But Zabel's offence dates back 11 years and according to the UCI's anti-doping rules, is too old. Simultaneously, we received positive signals from the UCI, IPCT and ASO," said Milram Team Manager Gianluigi Stanga. He further noted, however, that "had this incident happened during his time at Team Milram, no conversation would have taken place."
Zabel, who will be returning to competition immediately in the Bayern Rundfahrt Wednesday, said "It was important for me to reveal my past. After I apologized to the public on Thursday, I explicitly want to apologize to the management and my colleagues at Team Milram as well as our main sponsor."