12-time Tour de France stage winner Erik Zabel admits to doping

Monday July 29th, 2013

A French Senate investigation recently revealed Erik Zabel tested positive for steroids in 2008. (Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images) A French Senate investigation recently revealed Erik Zabel tested positive for EPO in 1998. (Damien Meyer/Getty Images)

Retired German cyclist Erik Zabel told a German newspaper he used banned drugs including EPO, cortisone and blood transfusions for "many years," according to the Velo News.

Zabel admitted to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung to using the blood-booster EPO but said he never had a "structured doping plan."

From the report:

"If you take it all together now — EPO, cortisone, then even blood doping — it's a whole lot."

Zabel, 43, retired in 2008 after a career that saw him win 12 Tour de France stages and the sprinter's green jersey six times. He tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in 1994, receiving a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs and no suspension.  He previously admitted to briefly using EPO while training before the Tour de France in 1996. His most recent admission includes a "re-infusion" before the 2003 Tour.

His confession comes after a French Senate commission announced Zabel and other riders had tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour.

Zabel told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he lied “to keep my life, my dream life as a professional cyclist.”

“I loved it so much, the discipline, the travel,” he said. “Basically, my selfishness was the strongest (thing).” Now, Zabel told the German newspaper, he wants to be able “to look in the mirror again.”
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