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Zabel's last pro race

Erik Zabel's doesn't really know what to expect in his last race as a professional cyclist. The German, known for multiple wins in the Tour de France and four wins in the Milano-Sanremo, will race the final day of the Berlin Six Day tomorrow.

"Actually, I should celebrate. But I don't know if I will feel like it. After all, it is the end of a very important phase in my life," Zabel, 38, said to the Berliner Morgenpost.

The Berlin Six Day race is the last act in Zabel's 16-year career. He confirmed there will be no comeback, "I can't imagine" coming back to ride his favourite race Milano-Sanremo again.

He revealed he is proud of being number one on the world ranking for 107 weeks. "I invested a lot in that goal. It was super."

While the German can't envision himself coming back, he said that Lance Armstrong's return to racing is "very interesting. For the insiders, as well as for the fans."

As an example of the fan interest aroused by the American, Zabel said that one of his neighbours recently told him that if Armstrong rides, he would watch it on television. "I can't say anything more. That says it all."

Zabel hoped to finish off his career with a win, and in fact him and partner Robert Bartko led after the third day. However, an intestinal infection struck him and the duo fell back to fifth position, one round down on Sunday. Zabel refused to take the day off, "I just don't want to disappoint the fans." (SW)