News for September 26, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Ullrich and Telekom part ways
Jan Ullrich will not be riding for Team Telekom next year, deciding to turn down their contract offer for what he terms "a new beginning". In comments made today on his website and through his manager Wolfgang Strohband, Ullrich said that he needs to find a new challenge and a new environment in which to make his comeback to racing. He is currently under suspension for testing positive to amphetamines in June (while at a nightclub), and will be allowed to race again in March, 2003.
"After long consideration and intensive conversations in the past week, I decided today not to sign a new contract with Telekom," said Ullrich. "It wasn't an easy decision to make, because I've always felt part of the team. Only with the support of all my Telekom colleagues and the good management was it possible for me to celebrate my great successes."
"I seek a new challenge, an entire new beginning. I know that I have not yet emptied my capacities. I would like to start with new motivation for the coming season...I am doing everything possible in order to be at the top of the world again in 2003," he added.
Ullrich does not know where he will go. "There are offers from several different teams, but there is nothing concrete yet," he said.
There is speculation that CSC-Tiscali and Team Coast are the front runners for his signature, but both teams will have to find ways to afford him. CSC is unsure of its co-sponsor next year, and put negotiations with Oscar Freire on hold due to his high price and lack of a sure sponsor. Ullrich is not going to come cheap, despite a possible reunification between him and his old team captain Bjarne Riis.
Team Telekom boss Walter Godefroot said that he respected Ullrich's decision. "He would like a change of air in order to get a new motivation," said Godefroot in an interview with Radsport-news.com. "We are parting on good terms. I wish Jan all the best for his future career."
When asked what effect Ullrich's departure would have on Team Telekom, Godefroot replied, "Jan was our top rider and we would have held on to him gladly. But we are Team Telekom and not Team Ullrich. We will also be a very strong team in future. We have Savoldelli, Evans, Vinokourov, Danilo Hondo and Erik Zabel, who is still the number one in the world. And I am certain that we will see a strong Andreas Klöden next year."
Ullrich has ridden for Telekom ever since he turned pro in 1994, winning his first race for them in the Tour of Hawaii that same year. He went on to win the Tour de France in 1997 at the age of 23, signaling what many thought was going to be a Jan Ullrich/Telekom era of Tour domination. That was not to be, after preparation problems and Lance Armstrong hampered his chances in successive years, although he does have the impressive record of five starts, one win, and four second places.
This year Ullrich started off on a positive note, keeping his weight down over winter and starting the season in the Tour of Qatar. However after that things went completely wrong, when a knee injury flared up and refused to go away. He was forced to renounce the Tour de France and was subsequently involved in a couple of incidents that turned out to be very costly.
The first was when he ran his Porsche into a bike rack while under the influence of alcohol. That led to a heavy fine and the loss of his driving licence for a year. The second was when he took some amphetamine pills at a nightclub in June, while he was staying at a rehabilitation clinic in Bad Wiessee. He was randomly drug tested the day after by the German Federation, who suspended him for 6 months according to their rules, although they recognised that the drugs were not used for doping purposes.
Telekom stopped paying him his salary while he was under suspension, although they did offer him a contract for next season. After much deliberation, Ullrich decided not to take the offer, which opens the way for a number of teams to bid for his very high talents.
No World's TT for Dekker
Dutch time trial champion Erik Dekker has decided not to start in the World Time Trial Championships in Zolder on October 10. The Rabobank rider does not feel in good enough form to ride well. His place will be taken by Axa's Paul van Schalen. Dekker does intend to start the road race.
Irish team for the World's
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The Hibenian Insurance Group which will sponsor the Irish team for the this year's World Championships in Belgium in October have been announced by the High Performance Commission under the chairmanship of Ciaran McKenna.
Mark Scanlon, the former World Junior Champion who has showing excellent form this year, particularly this month, will lead the Under 23 team. Scanlon will be one of the favourites going into the race and a strong team has been selected in the pursuit of a medal position. The team is Dermot Nally, who is riding with the Sella Italia team in Italy and the current national U23 champion. Denis Lynch who has been racing with VC la Pomme this year and last week finished 15th in the GP Tell in Switzerland. Philip Duignan who impressed the High Performance group with his riding in last month's Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia and the Tour of the Peaks in England, and the final place goes to Gary McQuaid who rode well in the GP Tell and he has been living and racing in Belgium with Team Ireland. Mark Scanlon and Dermot Nally will ride the time trial also.
The junior team will consist of Nicolas Roche, winner of the M Donnelly Junior Tour, Paudi O'Brien, Theo Hardwick, Andrew McQuaid and Micheal Concannon. Nicolas Roche and Theo Hardwick will ride the time trial.
Geraldine Gill will contest the women's time trial and road race and David O'Loughlin will ride the elite time trial and road race with Paul Griffin as reserve.
Canadian World Road Championships team
Despite being qualified for only one spot in the men's road race, Canada still has a large squad for the World Road Championships in Zolder next month. Charles Dionne, winner of the San Francsico GP, is the sole men's road race rider, while Eric Wohlberg and Roland Green will ride the time trial. In the women's events, Lyne Bessette and Geneviève Jeanson will ride both the road race and time trial, with Sue Palmer-Komar and Katy St. Laurent joining them for the road race. After his victory in the Volta a Catalunya Avenir, U23 cyclist Ryder Hesjedal looks to be a strong candidate for both the road race and the TT in that category, although the three man road team has yet to be finalised.
The full team
Charles Dionne (St. Redempteur, QC)
Elite Men Time Trial
Eric Wohlberg (Levack, ON)
Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC)
Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC)
Road Race (3 max)
Ian Condron (Victoria, BC)
Time Trial (2 max)
Ryder Hesjedal (automatic) (Victoria, BC)
Road Race (5 max)
Time Trial (2 max)
Andrew Davidson (Calgary, AB)
Julie Belanger (Edmunston, NB)
Time Trial (2 max)
Audrey Lemieux (automatic) (Alma, QC)
Pineda suspended for two years
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced a two year suspension for Juan Pineda, who tested positive for the anabolic agents 19-norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone at the First Union Invitational in Lancaster, PA on June 4, 2002. Pineda will begin his suspension on September 3, 2002. He will be disqualified from his finish at in Lancaster, and will also be 2,000 Swiss Francs for the doping offense.
Turpijn's EPO test negative
Dutch mountain biker Laura Turpijn has had the results of her EPO test confirmed as negative. The test was ordered by the Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU) after Turpijn returned a high hematocrit value at the recent World MTB Championships in Kaprun, Austria. "A high hematocrit value can occur through a number of factors," said a KNWU spokesman. "We are convinced of Laura's innocence."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)