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Zabel waves goodbye in 100th anniversary of Berlin

By:
Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Published:
January 23, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 18:04 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, January 23, 2009
Erik Zabel savors the victory in Dortmund

Erik Zabel savors the victory in Dortmund

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The Berlin Six Days, taking place from January 22 to January 29 in Berlin, Germany, celebrates...

Risi and Marvulli reunite

The Berlin Six Days, taking place from January 22 to January 29 in Berlin, Germany, celebrates several milestone events including the event's 100th anniversary, the final race of Erik Zabel and the reunion of defending champions Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli, estranged since the Zurich Six Days.

The 38-year-old Erik Zabel, six-time green jersey winner at the Tour de France, comes full circle in Berlin with the conclusion of his storied career.

"I was born just two kilometers from the velodrome at the Lichtenberg clinic and this is where I started my career in cycling," said Zabel, according to the AFP. Zabel will be joined in his final laps of the track Tuesday evening by his son Rick, himself a competitor in the Junior event.

Zabel, four-time winner of Milan-Sanremo, will team up with his German compatriot Robert Bartko. "It is an honor to be with Erik for his last race, but also an enormous responsibility, I want to offer him a final victory," said Bartko, a two-time Olympic pursuit gold medalist.

The Swiss duo of Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli, defending champions of the Berlin Six Days, had a falling out in December, but were convinced by the organizers and sponsors to defend their title in Berlin. "We have met and discussed our problems. For me, this is snow from yesterday, a forgotten issue," said Risi, according to punk.ch. "I am pleased with the reunion, in any case. As last year's winners we want to defend the title."

Race Director Dieter Stein had to overcome the loss of two German riders, Olaf Pollack and Andreas Beikirch, due to crashes in the Bremen Six Days, but communication with Belgian race director and manager Patrick Sercu resulted in the fielding of 18 teams in Berlin, a mix of veteran track riders and up-and-coming talent.

History plays a significant part of the Berlin Six Days pageantry with notable stars from the past attending including Klaus Bugdahl, Wolfgang Schulze, Olaf Ludwig and Silvio Martinello.

View the start list.

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