Zabel to leave Milram

Erik Zabel looks set to return to Team T-Mobile next season

Erik Zabel looks set to return to Team T-Mobile next season after revealing on Monday he will finish his contract with Milram when the season finishes at the end of the month.

The 37-year-old was with Telekom, T-Mobile's previous name, from 1993 to 2005, but has spent the last two seasons at Milram. And it has been a difficult year for Zabel who admitted last May to taking the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) during the 1996 Tour de France while with Telekom.

But Zabel explained in Munich on Monday he will finish with Milram a year earlier than expected and is widely tipped to be a T-Mobile rider next season, with a directive to mentor former world under-23 champion Gerald Ciolek.

"For a possible switch of teams we do not need lawyers, we are all grown-ups," Zabel said.

The six times winner of the Tour de France's green jersey says he will make a decision in the next "two or three weeks". "I am in good spirits and looking forward to competing next season," he said.

Zabel is preparing for the Paris-Tours on October 14, which he has won three times, and afterwards will race in Amsterdam, Dortmund and Munich before announcing his decision.

© AFP 2007

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