BMC signs young sprinter Rick Zabel for 2014

The son of Erik Zabel won the under 23 Tour of Flanders this year

BMC Racing has signed 19-year-old Rick Zabel to a contract for the 2014 season.

The son of 12-time Tour de France stage winner Erik Zabel, Rick is the reigning under 23 German national road race champion and was victorious at the under 23 Tour of Flanders this season.

He’s ridden for the Rabobank Development Team since last year. This season, he won a stage at the Tour de Normandie.

“Rick has a long list of results in the last few years to back up his pedigree,” BMC performance manager Allan Peiper said in a team release. “He has certainly learned a lot from his father, and, in a lot of ways, they are a little bit the same rider. Rick is a sprinter who can hold his ground on any terrain.”

Zabel praised BMC and said the decision to accept the squad’s offer was an easy one.

“I think they are one of the most professional teams in the WorldTour and the riders speak for themselves — guys like Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, and Tejay van Garderen — a lot of big stars,” he said. “To have those guys as teammates for a young guy like me is really cool because I can learn a lot from them.”

Erik Zabel racked up more than 200 wins during his career, including six consecutive points jerseys at the Tour de France and four victories in Milano-SanRemo. He rode for Telekom from 1993-2005 and Milram from 2006-2008 before retiring. After a three-year stint with HTC-Highroad as a sprint coach, Zabel moved to Katusha for the same position starting in 2012.

“I want to get better year to year and improve my qualities,” the younger Zabel said. “I don’t turn 20 until December so I am still very young. I want to learn, do my work as well as possible and help the team however I can.”