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Photo ©: Swift

News for June 10 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich wants to win another grand tour

Jan Ullrich is slowly working on his comeback to racing, after a season ruined due to an inflamed knee. The winner of the 1997 Tour de France says he will "attack the Tour again in 2003. Next year, I want to wear the yellow jersey." There are certainly no thoughts of a premature end to his career, despite his problems this year.

"I do not want to stop before I win another grand tour," he said in an interview from the Reha Clinic in Tergensee. There he has been working on a heavy rehabilitation program with physiotherapist Knut Stamer, involving aqua jogging, light weight training and flexibility training.

Ullrich says that at the moment, he is only at "20 to 30 percent of my maximum fitness. I would love to start training on the bike, but I have another light swelling in my OP joint. That must first disappear."

After his operation in Hamburg a week ago, Ullrich is scheduled to stay in Tegernsee for another two weeks. Next week he can start riding on the rollers. "With patience and hard work, I will come into form again. I am still not tired," he finished.

Ekimov returns

Viatcheslav Ekimov has made good his promise to return to the pro peloton, making his first appearance in the prologue of the Dauphine Libéré, won by Bradley McGee. Ekimov 'retired' in October last year, managing the young Russian Itera team for some time before deciding to get back into the saddle seriously again. He will be a valuable asset to the team in the Tour de France, and showed good form today to finish 16th in the prologue, just 3 seconds behind team captain Lance Armstrong, and 7 seconds behind McGee.

Savoldelli to ride 33rd circuito Città di Arona

Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli is keeping himself in shape by riding the post Giro criteriums, and will be the big start of the 33rd circuito Città di Arona on Monday, June 10. Savoldelli will show off the maglia rosa in the Trofeo Rubinetterie Teknobili, 33° Trofeo Città di Arona, Targa Ente Fiera del Lago Maggiore and Gran Premio Formaggi Guffanti, which have been organised by the AC Arona club.

Besides Savoldelli, other Giro protagonists such as Massimo Strazzer (Phonak, Intergiro winner), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Franco Pellizotti (Alessio), Vladimir Duma (Ceramiche Panaria), Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet Colnago) and Ivan Quaranta (Index-Alexia) will also be present, as well as Italian Six Day stars Silvio Martinello and Marco Villa, who will ride in a derny race.

The racing will start at 20:00 with an elimination race on the 900 metre circuit (last rider across the line each lap is out of the race). The highlight of the evening will be an individual pursuit.

54th Tour of Austria sees Pantani at the start

The 54th Bank Austria Tour which starts on June 10 with an 11 kilometre time trial in Reutte will be the first post-Giro d'Italia test for Mercatone Uno's Marco Pantani, who pulled out of the Giro on stage 16 after suffering from bronchitis. Pantani, who last won a race in July 2000, thinks that the Tour of Austria will be tough, containing three category 1 climbs and five other lesser ranked climbs during its seven days.

The 32 year old is trying to find form, intending to build a new team with a new sponsor, as Mercatone Uno are pulling out at the end of the season. He will have some competition from Peter Luttenberger (Tacconi Sport), Evgueni Petrov (Mapei espoirs), and the EDS-fakta team who are the favourites for this race with Jørgen Bo Petersen and Lennie Kristensen as their in form riders.

The Stages

  • Stage 1a - June 10: Am Plansee-Reutte, ITT 11 km
  • Stage 1b - June 10: Reutte-Reutte, 67 km
  • Stage 2 - June 11: Reutte-Schwaz, 182 km
  • Stage 3 - June 12: Schwaz - Innervillgraten, 196 km
  • Stage 4 - June 13: Lienz-Bad Hofgastein, 141 km
  • Stage 5 - June 14: Bad Gastein-Kitzbühler Horn
  • Stage 6 - June 15: Kitzbühel-Tamsweg, 171 km
  • Stage 7 - June 16: St. Michael/Lungau-Graz, 200 km

GP Rudy Dhaenens gets an upgrade

The GP Rudy Dhaenens, held in Belgium in March, should be upgraded from 1.3 to 1.2 next year. The organisers have received the instructions from the UCI, and should be able to meet the requirements. The race which starts in Nevele runs through the Vlaamse Ardennen, and includes the climbs of Valkenberg and Berendries. The finishing circuits in Nevele will probably be shortened to meet the UCI's requirements.

Vermaut will not race with Lotto again

Lotto-Adecco team doctor Daniel De Neve has declared that former pro Stive Vermaut will never race with them (or probably anyone else) again. 26 year old Vermaut was forced to stop earlier this season when he was diagnosed with heart problems. However, he did not give up hope and had more tests done in the USA after a doctor there said it may be possible. But although they gave more positive results for Vermaut, Dr De Neve did not change his mind on the matter. If Vermaut is to race again, it will not be with Lotto-Adecco.

Belgian championships competing with soccer World Cup

This year's Belgian road championships (and in fact most of the European road championships) will be held on June 30, the same day as the scheduled final of the soccer World Cup. That may well distract the nation's attention from Maldegem, the venue for the Belgian championships this year, regardless of whether the Red Devils make it into the final or not.

Cycling and football are the two top sports in Belgium, and with TV coverage being so important for their success, there has been some juggling of schedules. The Belgian championships will start at 12:30pm, two hours later than normal. The World Cup final broadcast will start at 1:00pm local time, meaning that it will be finished before the final of the road race.