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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 30, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich dreams about Tour and World's

In an interview with German cycling website Radsport Aktiv, Jan Ullrich gave some answers about the end of his season and the beginning of the next, where his aim is still the same as ever: to win the Tour de France once more.

"The season was long and hard," Ullrich replied when asked why he had ended his racing schedule before the last ProTour events were over. "Moreover, I've been actively involved in the planning of next season. And it's very important that I stop sooner in order to start the preparations sooner, too!"

Ullrich, who knows that he's "not getting any younger", said that his preparation for 2006 also included the assistance of the 'Medical Park' Clinics in Bavaria, where he will start a special preparation programme for next year as of November 1. "When I need them, that's where I can find the experts, the instruments and the surroundings to regenerate," he said. "In the clinics, I can recharge the batteries and find new ways of getting the best out of my body."

'Der Kaiser' is also happy that Rudy Pevenage, who was banned from the team due to a disagreement with former T-Mobile director and friend Walter Godefroot, will be back as directeur sportif next year. "It's very important for me that Rudy is part of the team again. He's one of the best team directors in the world. I'm very happy that we can take advantage of his experience and that there is a clear direction."

The T-Mobile squad, with reshuffled management and roster next season, will surely need just that to achieve its aims. Its star rider and captain is confident his newly signed teammates will be a perfect addition to the team. "I'm satisfied with the new riders, as they include some of my favourites. Michael Rogers proved his worth with his victory at the World's recently. Sinkewitz, Mazzoleni, Bernucci, Kirchen, Gonchar - the team has an excellent roster for next season," Ullrich added.

Further asked what his goals were looking ahead, the German replied, "To ride a good Tour, and then we'll see. My dream is to win the Road World Championships once, but right now I only think until July 2006!"

But first and foremost, Ullrich will go on a holiday. "Three weeks in the sun, and I won't say more about it," were his words to conclude the conversation.

The German T-Mobile team roster changes are as follows:

Arrivals: Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Scott Davis (Tenax), Sergey Gontchar (Domina Vacanze), André Greipel (Wiesenhof), Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo), Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), Eddy Mazzoleni (Lampre), Michael Rogers (Quick.Step), Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner).

Departures: Torsten Hiekmann (unknown), Tomas Konecny (unknown), Paco Lara (unknown), Jan Schaffrath (Milram-Domina Vacanze), Alexander Vinokourov (Liberty Seguros), Christian Werner (unknown), Sergey Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros), Erik Zabel (Milram-Domina Vacanze).

Retiring: Rolf Aldag and Tobias Steinhauser.

T-Mobile to Zurich

Recently turned Swiss rider Steffen Wesemann will lead the T-Mobile team at the 92nd edition of the Championship of Zurich on Sunday. 'Wese' who collected his Swiss passport a fortnight ago, just in time to represent the Alpine nation at last week's World Championships, now races in his new homeland for the first time as a naturalised Swiss citizen.

The Championship of Zurich, also called the Züri Metzgete, is a race with a long history and a tough parcours and is now a round of the UCI ProTour. T-Mobile's directeur sportif Mario Kummer has selected a mix of classics specialists and stage racers. Like Wesemann, Daniele Nardello will start the 241km race full of ambition. The 33 year-old Italian pulled off one of the biggest wins of his career here in 2003, when eight kilometres from the finish he jumped clear of a select leading group to solo home.

The experienced duo will be supported by the wily Rolf Aldag, Russian champion Sergey Ivanov, Matthias Kessler, Torsten Hiekmann, Oscar Sevilla and neo-pro Marcus Burghardt, who together with Sevilla impressed with a solid ride in this month's Vuelta.

"The course doesn't have too many serious climbs, but the profile will still best suit the climbers," said Kummer, who sees Sevilla, in particular, as capable of a good final placing. "He showed with his seventh place in the Vuelta that he is still in form this late in the season."

Sastre stays with CSC

Team CSC has extended the contract with Spanish stage race specialist Carlos Sastre. 30 year-old Sastre put his mark on this year's Vuelta a España with an impressive third place, and he was also a very important part of the team which helped Ivan Basso to his second place in the Tour de France 2005.

"Carlos and I have had a good dialogue about the new contract, and I truly feel he belongs with us," Bjarne Riis said about the deal, which runs for another year at least. "Carlos is a world class rider and tremendously important to our team. I'm very happy that we've now succeeded in sealing this deal. There's no doubt, Carlos is an attractive rider to a number of teams, and it means a lot to me that he decided to stay with us in the end. Here he has the opportunity to make some results of his own as well as playing a major part in the mountains during the Tour.

"The new contract is for one year, but I'm not saying we won't extend even further, when we've made the final decisions regarding the team for next season," Riis added.

"I chose to stay with Bjarne and Team CSC because I feel so strongly about this team," Sastre commented his decision. "Bjarne and I met in Madrid and really managed to talk everything through in a positive way, and afterwards the decision was easy. I have everything on this team - especially a lot of good friends, whom I wouldn't want to be without. I've achieved a lot in my career, and I think, I'll get even further."

No new contract for Planckaert

Francesco Planckaert has not had his contract renewed by, which will become next year. "Officially, I don't know anything yet," he said in HLN upon reading the news in the Belgian press. "But it doesn't surprise me. On a purely sporting level, I can't show any results, but on the other hand, I know that I haven't been given a real chance. I've always had the feeling that they wanted to belittle me. I only got along with Lucien Van Impe, but he can't do anything. Van der Schueren decides everything. But I'm not concerned. There are still Belgian teams that want me."

But MrBookmaker's team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren is having none of it. "If we let him ride a race, he should first try to show up. It's always something: either his car has broken down, or he's forgotten it, or he's got a gig [he sings]. I'm not wasting my time and energy on him anymore."

Van der Schueren also indicated that Frank Vandenbroucke will be staying with the team.

Colavita signs Viktor Rapinski

The Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Men's Pro Cycling Team has signed Viktor Rapinski for the 2006 season. Rapinski will be reunited with his former Saturn Cycling mentors Frank McCormack, now director of the Colavita/Sutter team, and his brother Mark McCormack, the former US Pro Champion who led the Colavita squad to numerous victories this season.

"We're thrilled that Viktor will be returning to the U.S. to race in the Colavita colours," said Frank McCormack. "My brother Mark and I have been working with Viktor for several years. He's developed into a formidable competitor in every aspect of cycling."

A native of Belarus, the 24-year old Rapinski made his debut on the U.S. pro circuit in 2002 as a member of the Saturn Cycling Team, followed by a season with Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, and most recently with Team Phonak. His achievements include winning the overall title in the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic, the Tour of Somerville, Mt. Holly-Smithville International Grand Prix, and the Four Bridges of Elgin Road Race. Last year, he took first place in the Sprint Competition at the GP Cycliste de Beauce and Tour of Qinghai Lake, where he also won the first, fourth, and final stages of the race.

The core of the squad will be returning next year and Rapinski, McCormack says, "complements the team's chemistry perfectly." McCormack expects to announce an additional signing and the complete roster in the coming weeks.

Chicchi to Quick.Step-Innergetic

Italian Francesco Chicchi has signed a deal to ride with Quick Step-Innergetic, that will see the 24 year-old riding alongside the World Champion Tom Boonen during the 2006 season.

"I am really happy and lucky to have the opportunity to ride in the same team as both the Olympic and World Champions," said Chicchi. "My objective is that of being useful to Boonen in the final sprints and hopefully also gaining a few wins for myself where my sprinting ability will be required."

Salerno signs for Ferretti

Italian Cristiano Salerno will turn pro with Giancarlo Ferretti's new team, signing a contract for two years on Thursday. The 20 year-old from Imperia spent this season with Bottoli Artoni Zoccorinese, but suffered a broken collarbone in May that hindered his season.

No Van Petegem in Franco Belge

Davitamon-Lotto's Peter Van Petegem did not make it to the start of the Circuit Franco-Belge on Thursday. Van Petegem had a sudden attack of stomach pains, and it was discovered that he had an intestinal infection.

Horrillo injured in crash at Franco-Belge

The current season will be one to forget as soon as possible for Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank). During the first stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, the Spanish rider had to quit the race after a very serious crash.

Horrillo smacked against the concrete after another rider came into contact with his rear wheel. Horrillo strained his right thumb and wrist severely. He was taken to hospital and will have to wear a special bandage for at least ten days.

Team director Frans Maassen said he doesn't expect Horrillo to ride again this season. It is the third time he had to abandon a race after a crash this year.

"It was pretty clear right away that it was serious," Maassen was quoted on the team's website. "It's really sad for Pedro. His whole season has been marked by bad luck."

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

Bäckstedt going for Derny Hour record

In exactly one month, 30 year-old Liquigas-Bianchi rider Magnus Bäckstedt will attack the current Derny Paced Hour Record. The 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner, back after the Vuelta a España and the World Championships, is starting a special training on the Welsh track of Newport, where on Saturday October 29 he will try to break the officially recognized record of 66,114 km.

"I finished the Vuelta in a very good shape," Bäckstedt said before flying to the U.S. Interbike Show in Las Vegas, from which he will return next week. "I'm ready to start the tough derny paced training in the Newport Velodrome. The secret is joining rhythm and power: I will do my best to beat Pronk's record," the tall Swede added.

The first derny paced hour recordman was Jean Bobet in 1953. The current record holder is Dutch Matthé Pronk that last November in Alkmaar covered 66,114 km in one hour: 1,568 more than Belgian Theo Verschueren, who had covered the greatest distance since 1970.

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