By Nigel Wynn
German former sprinter Erik Zabel has admitted that he used doping products and blood transfusions throughout his professional career in a new interview with Germany's leading newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The fresh admission comes after Zabel confessed in May 2007 that he used banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) 'once' in 1996.
Zabel was named in last week's French Senate Commission report as one of the riders whose 1998 Tour de France urine samples retroactively tested positive for EPO.
According to Zabel's new revelations, he first took EPO in 1996 before swtching to blood doping when a test for EPO was introduced. He also confessed to using cortisone. His period of doping ran from 1996 to 2003, during which he rode for the Telekom team. Zabel's Telekom team-mate Jan Ullrich, runner-up in the 1998 Tour de France, also tested positive for EPO.
Zabel won the Tour de France points classification for six consecutive years, from 1996 to 2001. He won 12 stages of the Tour de France, eight stages of the Vuleta a Espana and the Milan-San Remo classic on four occasions, among his extensive list of victories. He currently works as a consultant for the Katusha team, and worked with Mark Cavendish and the Highroad squad as sprint advisor from 2009 to 2011.
A full interview with Zabel is due to be published in Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.
Pantani and Ullrich's 1998 Tour de France samples positive for EPO
May 2007: Zabel and Aldag confess to doping
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