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by Shane Stokes
March 17, 2018
Hodeg lands first pro win in Handzame Classic; Gerrans out of San Remo, Vliegen and Bevin out of Catalunya; Spanish Cycling Federation drops Operacion Puerto cases; Former boss says Zabel was a kleptomaniac; Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Milan-San Remo; Video: 100% Brumotti waiting for Milan-San Remo; Video: Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike Prototype Demo Reel
Erik Zabel takes victory in the 2001 edition of the race, making it the second time the German had won back-to-back at Milan-San Remo.
One of the big memories of Milan-San Remo was Oscar Freire stealing the victory from a prematurely-celebrating Erik Zabel in 2004, but it appears the German was himself no stranger to snatching things. According to the just-published De Massaspurt book, Zabel’s former boss at Team Milram said that he was known for taking items that were not his.
Referring to him as a ‘kleptomaniac,’ van Gerwen said that the sprinter had a problem. “In the team he could not leave a shirt or bottle [alone],” he said, according to BNDeStem. “After suspicions and rumours we tried to prove it. We put something away and then we caught him. (…) Since then, we locked everything in the team bus. We lost a lot of trust in him.”
However he said that he never found evidence to substantiate his teammates’ suggestions that Zabel would take things from hotel rooms.
Zabel was one of the most successful sprinters of recent decades. He admitted in 2013 that he had doped during his career. Van Gerwen said that there were good aspects to his character, with Zabel working very hard and living “200 per cent for his job.
“At the same time there was mistrust in his direction, because of the people he gathered around him and the things he put into his hand,” he said. “We had discussions with him about this, that in a team things could not always go the way he wanted, then he nodded affirmatively, said a few sentences and eventually nothing changed…. Let me say it mildly: You had to be very careful with Erik. A great rider, but as a person someone with many faces.”
Click through to read the story at BNDeStem.