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Vuelta a España, 8 stages

Erik Zabel (born July 7, 1970 in East Berlin) is a former German professional road bicycle racer who last raced for UCI ProTour Team Milram. With over 200 professional career wins he is considered by some to be one of the greatest German cyclists and best cycling sprinters of cycling history. Zabel won a record nine points classification titles at Grand Tours including wearing the final green jersey in the Tour de France a record six consecutive years between 1996 through 2001 and the points jersey at the Vuelta a España in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Beyond his Grand Tours accomplishments, Zabel won the Classic race Milan-Sanremo four times and numerous six-day track cycling events.

Zabel grew up in East Berlin. After good results as an amateur cyclist, he became a professional in 1992 for a small German team. In 1993 he changed teams to Team Telekom (later the T-Mobile Team). There he became a good sprinter. His biggest strength was his all-round ability: whereas specialist sprinters such as Mario Cipollini would leave the big stage races before the mountain stages, Erik Zabel could climb reasonably well. This meant that, apart from being able to take the yellow jersey (maillot jaune) in the Tour de France thanks to the time bonuses, he could pick up further victories in latter stages, when other sprinters had retired, and take the green jersey (maillot vert) to Paris. One of his most memorable victories in securing the green jersey was in the 2001 Tour de France when his competition with Australian Stuart O'Grady continued all the way to the final stage in Paris, where Zabel's better placing finally took the green jersey off O'Grady's shoulders. However, in later seasons he was beaten by Australian Robbie McEwen in 2002, 2004 and 2006 and Baden Cooke in 2003.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Erik Zabel."
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