Zabel admits doping guilt

Zabel admits doping guilt
By Eurosport

24/05/2007 at 13:17Updated

Former T-Mobile cyclist Erik Zabel admitted to using the banned substance erythropoietin at the Tour de France in 1996.

"In my case, I decided to use EPO shortly before the [1996 Tour de France]," Zabel, at times close to tears and with a trembling voice, told a televised news conference in Bonn.

"I lied and I'm sorry," the German said. "It was a one-off test and then at the end of the first week I stopped the test because I had substantial problems with side-effects."

T-Mobile's sporting director Rolf Aldag had earlier admitted to using EPO when he was a professional cyclist in the mid-1990s.

"Before the [Tour de France] in 1995 I began using EPO and continued using it," Aldag said at the same news conference.

The admissions by Zabel and Aldag come after two other ex Team Telekom riders - Bert Dietz and Christian Henn - said this week they were part of a systematic doping regime on the team that won the Tour de France in 1996 (Bjarne Riis) and 1997 (Jan Ullrich).

Dietz told a German television station on Monday that Team Telekom carried out a systematic doping regime for its riders between 1994 and 1998.

The 38-year-old said team doctors from the University of Freiburg were fully involved in the process and sometimes administered injections.

After Dietz's confession, former teammate Henn came forward on Tuesday and admitted he took part in the EPO doping system from 1995 to 1999. Henn has been sporting director at team Gerolsteiner since 2001.