Former champion cyclist Erik Zabel has been suspended by Russian team Katusha after he admitted to doping during his career. The German had served as a specialist coach since retiring in 2008.
Zabel, 43, was named in a list of doping tests from the 1998 Tour de France published by the French Senate on Thursday, leading to his confession of regularly using banned substances during his decorated career. The East Berlin-born Zabel had previously claimed he had only experimented with EPO in 2007.
"Russian team Katusha announces the suspension of the sprinter group coach Erik Zabel after new facts about doping during his cycling career having been revealed in news reports," the team said in a statement, with Zabel having revealed years of banned drug use to German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" on Monday.
"These revelations refer to Zabel's career as an active racer from 1996 to 2003 and do not have any connection with team Katusha, whatsoever."
"Katusha Team management has decided to suspend Erik Zabel, who joined the team in 2012. As a member of Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (MPCC), Katusha follows a strong anti-doping policy."
Zabel - a six-time winner of the Tour de France's green jersey - was named in the French Senate report along with the likes of countryman Jan Ullrich and Italian Marco Pantani, who died of a drug overdose in 2004.
It is the latest scandal to rock world of cycling. Lance Armstrong confessed to using illegal performance-enhancing drugs in January, having already been stripped of seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban from all sports governed by the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
ph/dr (Reuters, AP, dpa)