Erik Zabel is now more than Rick's father: he works for the team Katusha-Alpecin (Photo: imago / Sven Simon)
Friday, December 7, 2018
For more than five years, Erik Zabel is nothing more than the father of professional Rick Zabel in cycling. Now the former victor returns and works with his son's team. There he should also help sprint star Marcel Kittel to new successes.
Erik Zabel returns to cycling after over five years of forced break because of his doping sins and should bring his son Rick Zabel and Marcel Kittel back on track. The long-time telecom sprinter will be Katusha-Alpecin's performance manager in the coming season, where he lost the post of sporting director in 2013 as part of his second doping confession. This is how Marcel Kittel is supposed to rejoice. (Photo: imago / Belga) Now comes the comeback of the former sprint star, who with his know-how is supposed to help Germany's most successful, but most of all, ailing stage winner. Zabel was in his comeback appearance at the team presentation in Koblenz on Friday in a good mood, but also remained modest. He would rather work in the background, Zabel said and smiled. "I would not have needed the round here, so in the new year the focus will be on the athletes like Marcel Kittel, he's one of our leaders and hopefully a little less will go to me." "His tips are a great help" The personality Zabel holds a certain explosiveness. In 2013, the former top sprinter had to give another doping confession, after he had flown in a report by the French Senate as an Epo sinner at the 1998 Tour de France. Afterwards Zabel lost all his activities in cycling and entered the races only as a privateer and father of his son Rick. He told the SID: "I am a little nervous because of that, it is exciting, we are two strong personalities, who like to get together." He will help the team with a lot of sport. "For me it gets a bit harder, I know yes my daddy: When it comes to recommending myself or another driver and we are on the same level, he will always take the other. "Now Erik Zabel returns so – and meets of course Kittel, who is in the anti -Doping fight with a clear opinion has always profiled. Kittel was open to cooperation: "I think we can take advantage of Erik's racing experience, his tips are a great help, I'm working with him for the first time, clearly that helps." Help can use Kittel after the sober 2018 season. The 30-year-old, who in France after a total of 14 tour stage wins called awesome "Le Kaiser", looks back on a difficult first year with his new team. For smaller round trips, he was also far behind in sprint stages, on the tour he was beaten below value and was eventually taken out of the race like several sprinters due to timeout prematurely. "It's important to get out of a fucking year with my head up, and my motivation is to make it better this year in 2019. That's why I stayed with Katusha, I said to myself, I do not want to go that way," he said The superstar, which ticked off the year 2018.Zabels contract runs for a year More on the topic The Sprint specialist knows with lows as well as with highlights, his career was last wavy. After the triumphant years of 2013 and 2014, the difficult year of 2015 followed, when nothing at all went together, before he found his way back to his former strength in the Quick-Step team. "In my career it was either super good or totally shitty, which is also a matter of the head," said Kittel, who had taken a longer break in September and October. In Japan and China, he slowly tested himself again. From the New Year onwards, victories will follow. "At best, a performance director will help the fit athlete to perform at their best, and make sure to bring the best teams to the race," Zabel told the SID new activity, which is initially designed for a year. In addition, Zabel should ensure that Katusha after punctual disputes in the unsatisfactory athletic season 2018 as the public dispute between Kittel and the sporting director Dimitri Konischew no longer acts as a collection of unequal groups. "I've been working on the sponsorship side for seven years now, and we had that impression from the outside as well," Zabel said. "Being dissatisfied is one way to find solutions, the other, and one solution can be this new position as Performance Director his."