Erik Zabel in NYC

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 4:28pm by alex

Before his trip to the US to ride the Berkshire Cycling Classic, Erik
Zabel spoke to event organizer John Eustice about the current state of
German sprinters and his own son Rick's progress in pro cycling. Erik
Zabel, the storied 6-time winner of the Tour De France Maillot Vert
with over 200 professional wins in his palmares, will be the guest of
honor at an upcoming fundraising event on Wednesday May 2nd  to benefit I
Challenge Myself and childrens' racing at the Harlem Skyscraper
Classic. This intimate event will be moderated by New York's own John
Eustice and will be exciting for anyone who has an interest in the
life of a recently retired professional cyclist. Tickets may be
purchased for $50 via: http://erikzabel.eventbrite.com. Mr. Zabel
joins us before heading up to Lenox, Mass for the first annual
Berkshire Cycling Classic. For more information on the BCC, go to

John Eustice: Erik, there is a lot of interest in the new generation
of German sprinters, the post-Zabel generation as it were. How would
you compare young gun Marcel Kittel to the more established "fast man"
Andre' Greipel?

Erik Zabel: Talking about Kittel as compared to Greipel, I think
Kittel is already on the same level as André. Together they are among
the Top-5 sprinters in the world, with Cav still the number 1. Kittel
is very elegant and powerful, not least due to his hard work in the
gym; he is to be said to train very much with the weights. And don't
forget, Kittel was Junior World Champion in time trialing twice. His
power and endurance are really on a high level.

JE: What about Kittel's teammate Degenkolb and Rudiger Selig, who you
are coaching at Katusha Team?

EZ: Degenkolb and Rudiger Selig both have the potential to put the top
sprinters in trouble. While Degenkolb has already passed his first
year among the pros successfully, Selig just started his professional
career with us at Katusha. Selig started last year pretty well as a
stagiare by winning his first race in Belgium, but Selig also knows
very well that you can't compare an autumn race with a spring race or
even a spring classic. Rudi learns fast and plays a very good role in
Katusha's lead-out train, e.g. preparing the sprints and working for
Freire and the other sprinters. I am very confident with his
development; first time we saw him really in a fantastic shape was in
Limburg, as he did a perfect job with the team tactics in covering the
group for his teammate Pavel Brutt, then taking the "win" in the
sprint of the bunch for 6th place. And Pavel won the race! Selig's
role in Katusha Team at the moment is different from that of Kittel
and Degenkolb in their teams. But I am convinced he will soon be there
with them...

JE: Did Andre Greipel wait too long to leave Mark Cavendish's side and
finally be independent?

EZ: As far as I'm concerned, André felt pretty comfortable in the
team, so the decision was perhaps a little late, but wasn't easy to
make for him, either way.

JE: Before you, it was Olaf Ludwig who took the Maillot Vert at the
Tour de France in 1990, then you did it six consecutive years between
1996 to 2001. So what is it about East German cycling? Ludwig, you,
Greipel, Kittel, Degenkolb and Selig are all born in East Germany. Is
it a coincidence or is there a real cycling school & education in the
former East Germany?

EZ: Well, Degenkolb was born in Gera in East Germany, like Ludwig, but
he grew up in Bavaria, so your [East German] story is over now!
Today, for me "east" is primarily just a compass point. For sure the
generation of Ludwig & I gained a lot from the sports education system
in the former DDR, but we still had to learn the life of the
professional rider in the west as well! That was not so simple. As a
matter-of-fact, everything with success has to do with talent, and
perhaps with the situation in that we have no hilly races in Germany
as compared with France or Italy or Spain, our young "espoirs" in
Bundesliga or U23 mostly ride flat races. Many of the young riders
train for road and track in parallel, so what do you scout as a coach
then? Right!  The fast and the furious; we develop really fast
sprinters in Germany.

JE: Your son, Rick, became a professional rider this this year with
Rabobank ProContinental. So as a dad, how do you follow the beginning
of the pro career of your kid? What are his qualities? Will he be also
a good sprinter?

EZ: I see Rick more as a privileged elite-amateur, and I'm very happy
that he is with Rabobank. They care for and educate the young guys
pretty well, so I don't feel any need to be involved much closer with
his career. It is good for me to have a certain distance, and it is
good for the development of Rick. You know, I couldn't be so easy on
my son like I am with my Katusha Team training group. Regarding Rick's
capacities, I definitely still have no idea of them. He is better in
time trialing than me, and on "good days" he is pretty fast. To tell
you the truth, we haven't found a real tendency yet for him as a

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By: Ryan Stiff
Mon, 10/15/2012 - 1:55am

Zabel the admitted doper interviewed by Eustice the apologist. This interview is Money.

By: Sam Dry Lube
Wed, 07/11/2012 - 9:23am

I always looked at how he snapped this abs into action to get his legs & arms to do all they could on the final 100 or so. Should slomo some of that on my old video some day again. Really looked up to him. Always happy for him when he won. Yes, Mario had converted to an all-tour racer in the end...one of the greatest disapointments to me was when he was denied a chance. Never get over that! Finally, Eric was and is well spoken and very optimistic.

Lance Armstrong is considered
By: doper
Thu, 06/14/2012 - 3:23pm

Lance Armstrong is considered the biggest American Doper in the world, apart from the US olympics team of course....hehehe

I've drank over 200 German
By: Helmut Zee Bigbutt
Fri, 05/04/2012 - 6:35pm

I've drank over 200 German beers and consider myself the greatest lard ass in my family.

Yeah and so!?!?! Does that
By: How Many Lenny
Fri, 05/04/2012 - 6:05pm

Yeah and so!?!?! Does that mean you or I will win the next local race?? No!! so shaddup and stop sucking his wheel. Good Lordy!

re: truth teller
By: Mathias Headset
Fri, 05/04/2012 - 2:12pm

from cycling news...

"With over 200 professional wins, Erik Zabel is considered as one of the greatest German cyclists and best sprinters in cycling history."

...case closed

By: jkornbluh
Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:08am

BTW, we will be offering an OPEN BAR with entry. Come on over tomorrow night.

Chet from Weird Science
By: Clement Compliant
Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:56pm

Chet from Weird Science

Herr Zabel
By: John Eustice
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 4:58pm

Erik is certainly one of the great road sprinters in history. 4 x Milano-SanRemo, 3 x Paris-Tours, 12 Tour stages on top of his 6 Green jerseys and three Vuelta Sprinter titles..twice second in the pro worlds, plus, plus, plus. He also was one of the last top road riders to do the 6-day circuit - quite fast there as well. Now, Cipo was faster, he has 20 lbs of muscle on Erik. But, for example, the French do not consider Mario as a great sprinter - fast yes, but this is endurance sport and you have to make it to Paris (or Madrid) to capture your sprinter crown. Which Mario, through a combo of his own attitudes then some really bad luck, was never able to do. So a slightly slower but much more endurant rider is what the Euro press and public really respect and that is what Erik is.

As for meeting him..the thing about Erik is he's a terrific, open and friendly guy. With enormous experience and stories to tell. So I'm very excited about seeing him again and getting the inside scoop on the current racing scene. And he's a beautiful rider, with superb style on the bike. So that will be very cool to see up close. Lot's to learn from him, I'm sure even Mark Cavendish would agree.

Does Zabel's barber use a
By: Thomas Supple
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:52am

Does Zabel's barber use a level or a t-square when he gives him a haircut?


Run Ins
By: Gunther Rimlichen
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:47am

A big key to my success: I found that yelling like I'm on fire and making a bitchy fuss in the last 300 meters of park races has improved my results a lot. Dudes around me just sit up - can't explain it. But I've been consistently placing in the high 30s for the past two seasons.

that haircut would get you
By: Rim Job
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:46am

that haircut would get you laid in east germany

By: Niccolo Tank
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:21am

Yes, you're sitting up too early.

When i sprint for the win i
By: Doffo Brakepad
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 1:15am

When i sprint for the win i typically get Zabeled by about 35 other guys.

Am i doing something wrong?

Cool as it was to have Lo
By: Wylie Brazeon
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:52am

Cool as it was to have Lo Scerefo last week, if Zabel came out to race in the Park he would absolutely crush the field....no doubt.

Not only does Truth Teller
By: Florian Neck
Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:35am

Not only does Truth Teller clearly establish the fact that he is a bombastic tool, it seems he rides for Foundation. WHAT A KOINKIDINK!

No matter what, though
By: Truth teller
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:30pm

As good as Zabel was, he can do nothing about the fact that Foundation WILL win the next CP race. You heard it here first.

Just the facts
By: Truth teller
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:28pm

Fact - He wasn't the best sprinter (ever) in the TdF.

Fact - he never won the World Championship.

Fact - Super Mario (with a great lead out train) was always the bet.

Opinion - he was overrated as a pure sprinter.

I give Zabel props for the 6 green jerseys. He made it over the mountains, an accomplishment the great Cipo doesn't have. He won when he rode for a team (Telecom) that was built around overall contenders (ullrich et al).

Perhaps unlike you gents, i know the facts and have been in cycling before you touched your first tricycle. But who cares. EZ won many great races. He was a prolific winner. But he was never the best pure sprinter.

Glad there is dialogue though. As for "meeting him" - been there done that young grasshoppers.

He also won the worlds but
By: Charles Headset
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:26pm

He also won the worlds but got Zabeled at the line.

Just the facts
By: Truth teller
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:24pm

Fact - He wasn't the best sprinter (ever) in the TdF.

Fact - he never won the World Championship.

Fact - Super Mario (with a great lead out train) was always the bet.

Opinion - he was overrated as a pure sprinter.

I give Zabel props for the 6 green jerseys. He made it over the mountains, an accomplishment the great Cipo doesn't have. He won when he rode for a team (Telecom) that was built around overall contenders (ullrich et al).

Perhaps unlike you gents, i know the facts and have been in cycling before you touched your first tricycle. But who cares. EZ won many great races. He was a prolific winner. But he was never the best pure sprinter.

Glad there is dialogue though. As for "meeting him" - been there done that young grasshoppers.

Only Green jersey 7 times in a row.
By: Cat4Forever
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:20pm

Yeah, I agree, Zabel is all hype. I mean, he only won the Green Jersey 7 times in a row. Is not like he won the Tour 7 times in a row.

Oh, Jesus Christ. People are
By: Brent O-Ring
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 10:46pm

Oh, Jesus Christ. People are permitted to have negative opinions about athletes and public figures based on their skills, results, or the color of their jersey. Shut up you fucking douche.

Truth Teller, perhaps you
By: Tom Dry Lube
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 10:35pm

Truth Teller, perhaps you should come to the event and make the same statement in person. No? That's what I thought.

By: Mathias Headset
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 9:32pm

but he could make it to Paris, and that's what counts

6 time green jersey in the Tour
By: Frederico Seattube
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 9:21pm

He may not have been the best but he did something right to earn that. As for EPO, just because others haven't come out and admitted it, do you think they are clean? Really?

Just because you can't take the day off from cleaning the streets of NYC to meet him, don't be such a spoiler.

The truth
By: Truth Teller
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 7:26pm

Zabel was never the best sprinter, never won the World Championships and he couldn't beat Cipo to the line on his best day. Totally overrated, especilly after the EPO admission. But that's just my opinion.

East Germany
By: West Coast Reader
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 2:25am

I expected a different answer to the East Germany question this being NYVelocity... or am I the only one who knows the answer?

What, you couldn't get him to
By: Bastien Crank
Tue, 04/24/2012 - 12:17am

What, you couldn't get him to race?

By: Victor Polished
Mon, 04/23/2012 - 6:08pm


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