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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition News for October 5, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

It's official: Ullrich to T-Mobile

Ullrich back in magenta
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Jan Ullrich has reached an agreement with Team Telekom- to be known in 2004 as T-Mobile- to return to the team after his brief stint with Teams Coast and Bianchi in 2003. The German has been weighing his options for some time, searching for the right team to support his number one goal of beating Lance Armstrong in the 2004 Tour de France. Ullrich and his manager Wolfgang Strohband reached the agreement in Zurich, Switzerland Saturday afternoon, meeting with Telekom manager Walter Godefroot and Olaf Ludwig.

Despite sticking points with Ullrich's directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage, who has not reconciled with Godefroot since his departure from Telekom last year, an arrangement will be reached to allow Ullrich and Pevenage to continue their collaboration.

"We're extremely delighted to have a rider like Ullrich in the team," Telekom spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews Saturday. "The sponsor [T-Mobile] and Jan Ullrich share a common goal of winning the Tour de France in 2004."

Ullrich wrote on his website, "For me, it is a change to T-mobile, not a return to Telekom. The team is no longer the same as I left in 2002. Beginning with the sponsor, who contacted us shortly after the Tour, to the riders, the team has an entirely new face today."

Ullrich added that it was "not easy to leave Bianchi. The whole team grew together through the circumstances of the last few months. I waited until the last moment to give Bianchi boss Tony Grimaldi and team manager Jacques Hanegraaf the chance to set up a competitive team. Their offers and also the others [five in total] were very good. The money was not the deciding factor - there was an offer that was even higher than the one from T-Mobile. In the end the security decided it in favour of T-Mobile."

Ullrich has signed a contract for an undisclosed length of time, though Eisenga confirms it is for more than one year. Ullrich will be joined by riders Tobias Steinhauser and André Korff from Bianchi, along with his brother (who is a mechanic), and soigneur. Rudy Pevenage will receive an offer from Ullrich to work as his personal adviser, but will not become a member of the T-Mobile staff.

"I will offer my friend Rudy Pevenage a contract as a personal adviser," Ullrich said. "I would like to continue the successful work with him that we started in 1995. Rudy also stood by me in the months when no-one believed in me any more. I hope that he takes up my offer."

The team will focus on Ullrich's bid for a second Tour de France victory, providing the German with exceptional support from the likes of Alexandre Vinokourov (3rd this year), Cadel Evans, and Paolo Savoldelli. Vinokourov is content to work for Ullrich in the Tour, commenting that "it is better to attack together than to attack alone."

Van Petegem ready for Paris-Tours

Lotto-Domo's Peter Van Petegem, winner of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this spring, has refound the sensations necessary to envision a strong end to the season, notably at Sunday's Paris-Tours and the upcoming World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. Leader of the World Cup in the early part of the season, Van Petegem lost his grip on the series lead to Italian Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who outdid the Belgian with three World Cup victories so far this year.

Nonetheless, Van Petegem is eager to tackle Paris-Tours and confirm what has been a stellar season. He will ride alongside the team's top sprinter Robbie McEwen in Paris-Tours, with a flexible leadership role depending on the tactics of the day. Former Paris-Tours winner Hendrik Redant will guide the Lotto-Domo team.

"At the end of the race, there is a succession of hills that can provoke a selection," Van Petegem said of Paris-Tours. "If Robbie McEwen is still there in the lead group after the strategic points, we'll ride for him. If not, it'll be for me!"

Van Petegem knows his chances for overall victory in the World Cup have slipped away, but that won't stop him from fighting for a top place. He sits in third place behind Rabobank's Michael Boogerd on the eve of Paris-Tours.

"Ok, Bettini's untouchable now, but when you've won two monuments of cycling like I did this year, you deserve to at least finish second in the final classification," Van Petegem told La Dernière Heure. "So I'll get going this Sunday to pass Boogerd, who only leads me by one point."

Kirsipuu satisfied

With a second victory in the overall classification of the season-long Coupe de France series, Jaan Kirsipuu can be satisfied with a season that proved once again his desire to win races, whether they be big or small events. As leader of the Ag2R-Prévoyance team, Kirsipuu made a name for himself in the Coupe de France, and this year won two races (Classic Haribo and Tour de Vendée) as well as the final classification, which he also won in 1999.

Kirsipuu, 34, has remained faithful to team manager Vincent Lavenu throughout his entire career. The two have enjoyed a strong working relationship and Kirsipuu knows the time is right to begin sharing leadership responsibilities in the team.

"For many years he alone felt the pressure on the team," Lavenu said of Kirsipuu in a l'Equipe article. "He's also at a turning point in his career and he knows he won't be progressing any more so he wants to share his experience."

Kirsipuu was joined by a new team leader this season, former world champion Laurent Brochard. For 2004 Brochard will remain, and the Ag2R ranks will be bolstered by the arrival of sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon, winner of the final Tour de France stage in Paris this year. Contrary to expectations, Kirsipuu expects no conflicts with another fast finisher in the team.

"It was my idea," he insisted. "If he's smart we can collaborate very well."

The former Estonian national champion will end his season after Sunday's Paris-Tours World Cup race, deciding the World's parcours in Hamilton would be too challenging for a rider of his capabilities. Nonetheless, Kirsipuu is pleased with his season.

"It hasn't been an exceptional season, but it wasn't too bad either," he said. "Perhaps I've had a little less speed, but in the UCI rankings [Kirsipuu is 22nd] I'm still ok."

Italians ready to roll

At the end of a meeting of the Italian national team in Salice Terme, Italy, the Squadra Azzurra underwent medical testing prior to departure for Canada and the World Championships. All riders on the 12 man team, which no longer includes defending world champion Mario Cipollini, were declared apt to ride.

New UCI MTB race category

A new category of mountain bike event has been introduced to the UCI calendar. The EHC events (Hors Classe one-day event) will be run for the first time at the the famed Roc d'Azur in Fréjus, France from October 8-12. The new race ranking will award a greater number of UCI points for the most difficult events with a strong international representation. This race will be one of the final opportunities for nations to improve their UCI rankings in view of participation quotas for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

UCI Anti-doping news

The following riders have been sanctioned for doping offenses in UCI competitions:

Patrick Molenaars (Ned): Sanctioned by the Dutch Cycling Federation, disqualified from the Europe Cup MTB 2003, and issued a warning.

Vincenzo Di Falco (Ita): Sanctioned by the Italian Cycling Federation, disqualified from the Settimana Ciclistica Lombardia 2003 and suspended for 1 year (May 10, 2003 to May 10, 2004).

Iranian visit to World Cycling Centre

The president of the Iranian National Federation, Mr. S. Hashemi, visited the UCI's World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland on Tuesday. Hashemi met with UCI president Hein Verbruggen and checked on the progress of Iranian cyclists Amir Zargari and Abbas Saeidi Tanha. The two track specialists are currently training at the WCC. The Iranian federation also hopes to profit from technical assistance from the UCI as it plans to build five new velodromes in Iran in the coming years.

Gullickson to NorCal opener

Former US cyclo-cross national champion Marc Gullickson (Redline) will be among the leaders to watch as the Northern California UCI 'cross season opens with the Milagra Ridge CycloCross in Brisbane this Sunday. The event is the first of the six race "Bay Area Super Prestige CycloCross"series.

Gullickson invades the home turf of Clif Bar duo Jackson Stewart and Andy Jacques-Maynes. In contrast to Gullickson's quiet summer focused on training for the cyclo-cross season instead of his regular NORBA schedule, both Stewart and Jacques-Maynes enter the mud season after nine months of road competition, culminating at the T-Mobile International.

The majority of the 2003 US Women's team lives in Northern California and most are expected to open their 2003 UCI and 2004 World's campaigns at Milagra Ridge. It's the "Sayonara Season" for Clif Bar's 2 headliners, Gina Hall and Carmen D'Alusio, both retiring after this season.

For more information, contact Media@pilarcitos.com.

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