Katusha suspend doping coach

2013-07-31 00:00

MOSCOW — Professional cycling team Katusha yesterday said they had suspended former Tour de France sprint ace Erik Zabel as a coach, after he admitted to systematic doping.

“Russian team Katusha announces the suspension of the sprinter group coach Erik Zabel, after new facts about doping during his cycling career have been revealed in news reports,” a statement said on katushateam.com

“These revelations refer to Zabel’s career as an active racer from 1996 to 2003, and do not have any connection with team Katusha whatsoever. Katusha Team management have decided to suspend Erik Zabel, who joined the team in 2012.

“As a member of Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible, Katusha follows a strong anti-doping policy,” the statement said.

The German rider, a six-time winner of the Tour de France’s green-jersey competition for best sprinter, admitted in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that he doped from 1996 to 2004.

His admission to Sueddeutsche Zeitung came after he was included in a French parliamentary commission report naming riders who tested positive for the banned blood booster erythropoetin (EPO) on the 1998 Tour.

Zabel, now 43, admitted in 2007 to having taken EPO in 1996, but maintained he stopped using it after one week.

The International Cycling Union governing body announced on Monday that Zabel had resigned from his position with the Professional Cycling Council.

The federation said Zabel expressed “deep regret for having lied for so long about taking performance-enhancing substances” and, although cycling is now cleaner, he is “no longer the right person” to sit on the council. 

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