German cycling?s biggest name, sprinter-cum-Classics specialist Erik Zabel has announced during the Milram team presentation on Thursday that he plans to end his career after the 2008 season. However, he left open the final decision until the end of the year.
?I think this will be my last season on the bike,? Zabel, who has the largest number of pro wins of any rider currently in the peloton, told reporters.
?Having said that, if I continue to enjoy riding my bike, or if [Milram team-mate and co-leader] Alessandro Petacchi asks me to continue racing with him, then I?ll think again.?
Zabel?s 2007 season – and arguably his career – was tarnished by an admission that he briefly used EPO in 1996. At the same time, he is one of Germany?s most popular cycling stars, with a record number of green jersey wins in the Tour, as well as victories in four Milan-San Remos and three victories in Paris-Tours.
Whilst Zabel, 37, contemplates the end of a career which started way back in 1993, French ProTour team Bouygues Telecom have announced they will continue sponsoring a team at least until 2010.
Bouygues boast one of France?s most charismatic riders in their line-up – 2004 Tour yellow jersey wearer and 2007 GP Ouest France winner Thomas Voeckler.