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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for May 6, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich's blood alcohol level more than 1.4 g/L

Jan Ullrich's blood alcohol level was between 1.4 and 1.5 milligrams per litre at the time of his accident last Tuesday, when he ran into a bicycle rack with his Porsche 911. Telekom spokesman Olaf Ludwig confirmed this today, in light of the information by Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband that he had drunk several glasses of wine before the accident. The legal blood alcohol limit in Germany is 0.5 mg per litre (0.05%).

Ludwig also wished to clarify that Alexandre Vinokourov was not in the car at the time, as was reported in the German press. However, ex-world tandem champion Erk Pokorny was in the car, along with two girls.

After being reported for the accident, which occurred near Freiburg, Ullrich had his driving licence confiscated and is expected to get a talking to by Telekom boss Walter Godefroot this coming Monday or Tuesday.

After the story came out, Ullrich said on his website that he will "bear all the consequences", also affirming that there were no other Telekom riders involved in the incident. "I am only happy that no-one was injured," he said. "I will take responsibility for all the damages [estimated at 1700 euros]."

Team Coast for the Giro

In the absence of Angel Casero and (surprisingly, given his current form) Alex Zülle, Team Coast will start the Giro d'Italia with Manuel Beltran and Fernando Escartin as its top GC riders. The team is well balanced, with classics specialists Lars Michaelsen and Frank Hoj capable of stage wins, along with sprinter Fabrizio Guidi. Raphael Schweda, Andre Korff, Francisco Lara and Malte Urban round out the team.

The team

Manuel Beltran (Spa)
Lars Michaelsen (Den)
Frank Hoj (Den)
Raphael Schweda (Ger)
Francisco Lara (Spa)
Fernando Escartin (Spa)
Fabrizio Guidi (Ita)
Andre Korff (Ger)
Malte Urban (Ger)

Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo for the Giro

Directors Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have selected a mixed nationality team for the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Led by Italian Guiliano Figueras, who finished 10th in last year's race, the team also features Mexican climber Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, who won a stage last year, as well as breaking his chain and some teeth in separate incidents. Ukrainians Volodimir Duma and Sergey Matveyev are part of the mix, as well as Bielorussian Yaugeny Senyushkine, Russian Faat Zakirov, Australian Graeme Brown and (for good measure) Italians Antonio Varriale and Filippo Perfetto.

The team

Giuliano Figueras (Ita)
Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex)
Faat Zakirov (Rus)
Sergey Matveyev (Ukr)
Yaugeny Senyushkine (Blr)
Filippo Perfetto (Ita)
Antonio Varriale (Ita)
Volodimir Duma (Ukr)
Graeme Brown (Aus)
D.S. Bruno & Roberto Reverberi

Also see: Giro d'Italia team list

Tiscali impatient

Laurent Jalabert's win in the CSC Classic today in Aarhus came not before time, as one of the main sponsors is getting edgy. Success in the Tour de France isn't enough for Tiscali, co-sponsor of Bjarne Riis' division I Danish team. The company's Danish communications manager Jes Hvid Mikkelsen told newspaper BT that you have a right to expect that a team with a budget among the 5-6 highest in the peloton wins a race every now and then.

"We are through a third of the season and it is too early for a conclusion. But if we should look at only the season so far, the team hasn't lived up to expectations," said Mikkelsen. "Our success criteria is higher than two stage wins and the mountains jersey in the Tour. We want more top results - so they will have quite a busy time for the rest of the season."

Tiscali's Italian owners are showing the same irritation: "This is not a Danish or Italian affair, it's a European effort. And the Italian main office says that the only market where we are getting anything back is the Danish. In Spain for instance there aren't many lines written about someone who is 28th," added Mikkelsen.

The Tiscali contract runs out this year on June 30 with an option to extend. After that date, Bjarne Riis is allowed (and may be forced) to negotiate with other sponsors. The CSC contract is for three years and ends after next season.

More on Kelme's problems

Spanish team Kelme-Costa Blanca may have to ride out the season under a different name, as there are reportedly serious economic issues facing its sponsoring company. In the past few months, Kelme has had difficulties paying its riders and staff, with the riders' paychecks for March only arriving in the last few days. According to Marca newspaper, the debts are not great at the moment, and the team is riding well, but it is not a good situation to be in.

Reportedly the owners of footwear manufacturer Kelme, Pepe and Diego Quiles, are trying to sell a portion of their company in order to clear the debts and raise capital. They recently received a credit of 9 million euros from the Generalitat Valenciana to keep operating. The construction of two manufacturing plants in Russia has increased the strain on the company, which will in turn make things difficult for the cycling team.

Armstrong amongst nominees for Laureus World Sports Awards

Lance Armstrong is the sole cyclist to be nominated for the third edition of the Laureus World Sports Awards, that will be announced on May 14 in Monaco, in the presence of Prince Albert of Monaco. Armstrong is up against German formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, American golfer Tiger Woods, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and American tennis player Jennifer Capriati.

UK Royal Airforce Team for RAAM

A six man preliminary team has been named to represent the British Royal Airforce in this year's Race Across America (RAAM) that starts on June 16 (June 18 for teams). Managed by Corporal Steve Masters, the team hopes to repeat its victory in the 2000 team event (the RAF did not send a team in 2001).

During the 2000 race, the RAF team beat the transcontinental record holders by over 2 hours in a time of 5 Days 16 Hours and 18 Minutes. The riders averaged almost 22 mph for the whole race with at least one rider on the road for 24 hrs a day. This included traversing the Rockies from West to East.

The Race starts in Portland Oregon and travels SE finishing on the Gulf Coast of Florida at Pensacola. The team will be backed by a 12 man support crew who will work shifts as they guide the riders over the Rockies and over the plains Oklahoma in extremes of temperature that range from -5C to 45C in the heat of the day.

"We aim to win the race again this year after 8 months of training and selection that have seen the riders whittled down to just 6 contenders. The 6 riders will travel out and the final 4 will be chosen 1 week before the start," said Masters.

The six are as follows:

Dave Green - The only rider who competed in 2000
Keith Jackson - Roadman and some time TTist
Steve Wilcox - Former Triathlete now Welsh TT Star
Dario Zanolini - North of Scotland BAR 2001
Lee Wiggington - Roadman who is just finding his TT legs. (youngest team member at 24)
Dave Cook - Former National RR Champ and only civilian on the squad

For more information on the team, please contact Steve Masters.