Zabel stays; No Ullrich link in doping raid

Milram sprinter Erik Zabel staying on as team captain. Meanwhile, the recent doping raids in Freiburg found no evidence linking to Jan Ullrich.

Zabel stays with Milram

German cycling star Erik Zabel ended speculation on Thursday of a possible return to former team T-Mobile by committing to Milram as captain for the 2008 season.

"The new season is a huge challenge for our team and I am glad to have committed," said Zabel.

The 37-year-old, who won the Tour de France's green jersey for the points classification a record six times, had been tipped for a return to T-Mobile after his spell with the team formerly known as Telekom between 1993 and 2005.

Milram team manager Gerry van Gerwen says Zabel's commitment is good news for the Bremen-based team. "There is no doubt Erik will ride for us next season and we are glad to know he will be on board after extending his contract," said van Gerwen.

No link to Ullrich, says doping raid boss

A raid by German federal investigators on the premises of two doctors who have admitted supplying cyclists with doping products found no evidence linking them to former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, according to German press reports on Thursday.

Senior Federal Criminal Investigator Wolfgang Maier said the raid on Freiburg University's clinic, plus the homes of doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, on Wednesday found nothing to link 1997 Tour winner Ullrich to the medical facility. Ullrich, 33, has been under a cloud of suspicion since he was sacked by T-Mobile in July 2006 having been linked to a doping scandal in Spain.

T-Mobile severed ties with their former team doctors Heinrich and Schmid this summer after they admitted in May to helping dope cyclists and the University of Freiburg, where the pair worked, also terminated their contracts.

Maier said Wednesday's searches were aimed at confiscating records from the doctors' time with the cycling team. The searches came a week after former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz gave five-hours of evidence to the German Cycling Federation'S (BDR) disciplinary committee.

Sinkewitz was sacked by T-Mobile during this year's Tour after he tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone during training and has been co-operating with the BDR in a bid to get leniency for his expected ban.

© AFP 2007

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