First Edition Cycling News for September 4, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Jan the Man still has a plan
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Freidrichshafen
Although he had a disappointing Tour de France and Olympic Games, Jan Ullrich is still considered Germany's most popular sportsman. Ullrich was greeted by massive crowds at today's Eurobike show as he signed posters at sponsors Giant, Adidas, Rudy Project and Sigma Sport. According to German journalist Joachim Logisch of Bild, Germany's largest daily, Jan's recent book, Ganz oder gar nicht: Meine Geschichte (All or nothing at all: my story) has revealed a fascinating side to the great German rider that has further endeared the 1997 Tour De France champion to his many German fans.
"Jan's book has a lot of interesting new details about his life, talking about his father who was an alcoholic, his first racing experiences, his racing in Berlin with legendary RSV Berlin coach Peter Becker and even his side of the story about who waited or didn't wait who after Lance Armstrong's crash on Luz-Ardiden in the 2003 Tour De France. I thing it's a truthful, straightforward account," Logisch told Cyclingnews.
Before Jan headed out to ride an evening criterium in Ravensberg, he was kind enough to take a few moments to talk to Cyclingnews.
Cyclingnews: Jan, you seem to enjoy doing the promotional events at the trade show.
Jan Ullrich: Yeah, I have a good time...it's part of my job and I like this. After the Tour de France, I have time for it and it's a big event here at Eurobike. This evening I have a race near the trade show. It's nice for me to see so many people!
CN: What happened to you in the Olympics?
JU: Well I think the Olympics was a little bit too much for me...I did the Tour and the first week, I was very, very sick and it wasn't too good for me. I lost a lot of weight and so a lot of power too, and then did too many races after the Tour. So the Olympics were no good for me. I had no power and didn't feel good.
CN: Are you looking forward to racing the World Championships now next month in Verona, Italy?
JU: Yes, I hope to ride the World's and have to decide in the next week what my program is. At the moment, I'm very good in my training and I've planned to ride a lot of hard races in the next four weeks so if all goes well, I'll be at the World Championship.
CN: In 1999, I remember you rode very strongly on the Torricelle climb at the Verona World's...
JU: Yeah, sure, the course is very good for me, but I must feel that my form is good and then I can start (the World Championship).
(Thanks to Tom Davies and Andy Woolny of Giant for helping Cyclingnews squeeze through the crowds at their packed booth to grab a few minutes with Jan The Man.)
An interview with Bradley Wiggins
Waiting for it all to sink in
By Shane Stokes
While he stressed beforehand that he would not be an overall contender due to his specific track preparations for Athens, this week's Tour of Britain is a victorious homecoming for Bradley Wiggins, whatever the result. The 24 year old won three medals at the Olympic games, taking gold in the individual pursuit, silver in the team pursuit and bronze in the Madison. Three different medals in one Games is a feat which was last achieved by a British athlete a full 40 years ago when Mary Rand did the treble, the gap between the two occurrences showing just how special - and rare - it is.
Wiggins' feat and the achievements of British cyclists in general in Athens is part of the reason why the Tour of Britain has attracted such good crowds to the race. Cycling in the UK is enjoying what is arguably the biggest media coverage in recent memory, due to the good performances in Athens. Hosting the Tour of Britain just after the Olympics is either inspired guesswork on the part of the race organisers or a real stroke of luck; either way, the crowds are there and cycling is getting some very valuable media coverage.
Wiggins gave a frank, intelligent interview just before he embarked on the Tour of Britain, talking about a variety of subjects. He revealed the effect those medals have had so far on his life and talked about his plans for the rest of this season and beyond. The 2003 world pursuit champion also disclosed how tough his build-up was for the Olympic Games was and how he became seriously demoralised with the bike in the early months of this year. Fortunately, things clicked after a short break from the sport and now, three Olympic medals to the better, he explains why he is willing to walk away from track racing in order to become a top road rider.
Q: Can you give us an idea of what you have been doing since the Games?
A: It has been pretty hectic. I have been in this whirlwind ever since I got off my bike in the Madison. That evening was consumed by a lot of TV and press and running around until three or four in the morning, and then after that I travelled back the next day. Since I got back I was off in Belgium to race at the weekend and then came back from there. The past few days have been very busy.
Q: Have you had time to really enjoy it? Have you had time to celebrate with your family?
A: No, I haven't even had five minutes alone with my partner Kath. That is hard, but at the same time this comes with it, this comes with winning and with getting medals. It is the bit you enjoy, the bit you look back on in years to come and say at least I did it. That time will come, you just have to profit from this moment as much as you can and try to soak as much in and enjoy it while it is there.
Davitamon-Lotto is official
The new Belgian team combining the sponsorship of Omega Pharma and the Belgian national lottery will be known as Davitamon-Lotto next year, and will become one of the teams in the Pro Tour. At a press conference announcing the new team today, Omega Pharma boss Mark Coucke said that he considered naming it "Restiva-Lotto" after the Omega Pharma hair care product, but decided to stick with Davitamon-Lotto to further promote the vitamin brand. "We have only been in cycling for two years and that is just a bit too little to establish the name," he said.
The team numbers 25 riders at the moment, and is largely composed of ex-Lotto-Domo and Bodysol-Brustor riders. Davitamon-Lotto holds several top sprinters in Robbie McEwen and Belgian national champion Tom Steels, as well as American Fred Rodriguez, who is coming from Acqua e Sapone and will be assigned as a lead out man for Steels. The experienced Peter Van Petegem will lead the team in the classics while Axel Merckx will no doubt be an excellent addition for the one day races as well.
Along with a healthy mix of Belgian and Dutch riders, Davitamon-Lotto will house four Australian riders in its ranks. Besides McEwen, there will be Henk Vogels (ex-Navigators), Cadel Evans (T-Mobile) and Nick Gates.
The team's budget is between seven and eight million euros, and it will ride on Ridley bikes, save for Axel Merckx who will use one of his father's machines.
Sports directors: Marc Sergeant, Herman Frison, Hendrik Redant, Eric Van Lancker
Riders: Mario Aerts (T-Mobile), Frédéric Amorison (Quick Step-Davitamon), Serge Baguet (Lotto-Domo), Christophe Brandt (Lotto-Domo), Wim De Vocht (Bodysol-Brustor), Bart Dockx (Bodysol-Brustor), Cadel Evans (T-Mobile), Nick Gates (Lotto-Domo), Jan Kuyckx (Vlaanderen-T-Interim), Bjorn Leukemans (MrBookmaker), Nico Mattan (Bodysol-Brustor), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo), Bert Roesems (Bodysol-Brustor), Fred Rodriguez (Aqua & Sapone), Gert Steegmans (Lotto-Domo), Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet), Leon Van Bon (Lotto-Domo), Preben Van Hecke (Bodysol-Brustor), Wim Van Huffel (Vlaanderen-T-Interim), Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), Wim Vansevenant (Lotto-Domo), Johan Vansummeren (Bodysol-Brustor), Aart Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo) and Henk Vogels (Navigators).
Savoldelli to Discovery
Paolo Savoldelli (T-Mobile) has signed a two year contract with the Discovery Channel cycling team of Lance Armstrong (currently, of course, known as the US Postal team). The 31 year old 2002 Giro d'Italia winner has had two fairly miserable years at T-Mobile, mainly caused by injury and sickness. "I'm very happy to be able to ride in a team with Lance Armstrong," Savoldelli was quoted by Sporza as saying. "I want to make a new start now."
In a team statement announcing the arrival of Savoldelli, US Postal directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel said, "I think it's a very strong addition to the team in terms of how the new Pro Tour is designed. It's pretty clear the Pro Tour is for teams with strong stage racers. Paolo is a strong addition to the team and is also a very strong addition in view of the big tours. We haven't decided what the program will be yet, either the Tour of Italy or the Tour de France, but I think either way he's a rider who will fill in the spot we were still looking for. He can both climb and time trial, and there aren't too many of those guys out there.
"He will be riding as a leader in certain races and also in support of a leader. I have a really good feeling about Paolo. It's funny, he was the guy I was looking for, and when the opportunity came and he was available to come to the team, I went for it."
Vanlandschoot to Landbouwkrediet
James Vanlandschoot (Relax-Bodysol) is set to join the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team next year, according to Belgian sources. Much of his current team will be absorbed into Davitamon-Lotto, and Vanlandschoot has been forced to find a new team. He has signed a one year contract with Gerard Bulens, who has also managed to keep young talent Maxime Monfort on board, with the Belgian signing for another two years.
Cuesta to Saunier Duval
Spanish rider Iñigo Cuesta will leave the French Cofidis team to join Saunier Duval next year, according to Procycling.dk. Cuesta's main role at the team will be to assist Spanish star Joseba Beloki to get back to his 2003 Tour de France form. Cuesta is expected to sign a contract within a few days.
Orbea frameset confirmed for Fantasy Vuelta 2004
Cyclingnews' Fantasy Vuelta a España 2004 grand prize will be an Orbea frameset in Euskaltel colours! There will also be the usual swag of parts forming the supplementary prizes, including a daily stage prize similar to the Tour de France game this year. Thus there will be over 25 opportunities to win in this year's game. The full prize list will be finalised shortly.
Remember there is still time to enter new teams. You can enter teams up until stage 6 begins. There is no disadvantage to entering a team once the Vuelta is under way. You have as much chance as any other team manager of winning the Orbea frameset.
To play all you need to do is pick a team of 15 riders to race and select 9 riders each day during the tour. You can join up until stage 6 begins. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta.
To register your teams for the Vuelta go to http://fantasy.cyclingnews.com/
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)