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Zabel admits to doping from 1996 to 2003

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Erik Zabel won an incredible six consecutive green jerseys at the Tour de France

Erik Zabel won an incredible six consecutive green jerseys at the Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
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Erik Zabel on the startline

Erik Zabel on the startline (Image credit: Sirotti)

Having previously stated he'd only doped once in his career, Erik Zabel told German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung that his doping regimen extended from 1996 through 2003 in an interview to be published on Monday.

Zabel was recently identified as one of the riders who tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France, which was at odds with his confession in 2007, along with Rolf Aldag, that he'd only used EPO during the first week of the 1996 Tour. Now, the 43-year-old German admits to a much more extensive utilisation of doping products.

"EPO, cortisone, then even blood doping. It was a whole lot," Zabel told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Zabel related that he started doping in 1996 with EPO, then moved to blood doping once EPO became detectable.

"In 2003 I got a re-infusion before the Tour de France," said Zabel.

Zabel is sorry for having lied at the 2007 press conference where he had stated that he only doped during the 1996 Tour de France but had stopped immediately due to the side-effects of EPO.

"Above all I wanted to keep my life, my dream job as a pro cyclist," said Zabel. "I loved it so much, this sport, the traveling. This egoism, it was simply stronger."

Zabel rode professionally from 1993 to 2008. He won the green jersey at the Tour de France six consecutive times, from 1996 to 2001, plus won 12 stages at the French Grand Tour. Since 2012 he has been a coach at Team Katusha.