Zabel opens Berlin Six Days
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Zabel opens Berlin Six Days

by Bjorn Haake at 12:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
 

Erik Zabel will be opening the 99th edition of the Berlin Six Days, which take place from January 28 to February 2. Zabel did his final race in Berlin last year, but he still has strong ties to the velodrome here.

"This is an honorable matter for me," Zabel said to rad-net.de. "Here, my heart beats for the Six Day races, its unique tradition." The first race was held in 1909 and despite the race not being held in and around the two world wars, the counter kept ticking, thanks to many years where it was actually held twice. "We already feel now that everything is gearing up for the 100th race next year," Zabel said.

Zabel has other ties as well. "My father Detlef won the very first race in the Werner-Seelenbinder venue. It was right there where the velodrome is today. And in the very last race in that venue, I finished second." The Werner-Seelenbinder venue was established in 1950 and torn down in 1992. Besides track cycling it was used for ice hockey matches, speed skating and also for gatherings from the socialist parties of East Germany.

The Zabel tradition in Berlin is kept up. "Today, my son Rik chases around the oval in the velodrome. It is our special Zabel tradition. I will be alongside the track as a coach."

The organizers are thrilled to have Zabel back. "We are very happy that he gave us the OK. He represents our event extremely well," said Heinz Seesing.

Zabel won last year's race together with his partner Robert Bartko.

German Six Day races have had many troubles over the last few years with the races in Stuttgart, Dortmund and most recently Munich all folding.  This leaves Germany with just two Six Day races for the 2010/11 season, Bremen and Berlin.  Hopefully Zabel's presence will help to rekindle their interest.
 

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