Telekom againGerman Team Telekom had their official presentation today for the 1997 season, in which their main objective is to repeat the double with their leaders Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich who in that order finished the last edition of the Tour. Thirty two year old Bjarne Riis and first Dane to win the Tour, said at the presentation that: "to revalidate the victory at the calendar's most important race is my objective, although I admit that it won't be easy".
German Jan Ullrich, last year's revelation with his second place at the Tour, where he also won the long ITT ahead of Miguel Indurain, said that: "I'm motivated after my success of last year which will not be easy to repeat. The wins haven't gone to my head and like last season the Team Captain will be Riis". The team manager, Belgian Walter Godefroot, also appeared optimistic and said that the team structure was practically the same and that's why the objectives don't have to change. "Riis is a little fat, something logical since his preparation is a little delayed, but starting next week at the Vuelta a Mallorca, he will start to gain form quickly and try to be with the best at the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, at the end of February".
CasagrandeFrancesco Casagrande will start the season at maximum with his objective being to win at Milan-San Remo and then after not racing at the Giro d'Italia, dispute the Tour de France. For the Giro the team sprinter will be Cipollini, while Martinello will take care of the Tour de France, with Cipollini only present in the first few stages.
VU ChallengeThe World's best cyclists, reunited in 14 teams, will participate at the VI "Challenge" Vuelta Internacional a Mallorca-Islas Baleares, which will be disputed between February 9 and 13. The teams registered to race with which the 1997 season opens are: Lotus Festina (FRA), Asics (FRA), Telekom and Nurberger (ALE), TVM (HOL), Rabobank (HOL), Mapei (BEL), Codifis (FRA), Foldeldorado (HOL) and the Spanish teams, Banesto, ONCE, Kelme, Euskadi and Deportpublic. Amongst the cyclists there will be: Riis, Ullrich, Museew, Rominger, Zulle and Olano. This edition of the vuelta internacional a Mallorca will have five stages, with a total of 693,2 kms., five second category climbs, two category three and two category four.
NelissenBelgian sprinter Wilfried Nelissen, who rode last year for Team Lotto, is the main novelty for modest Belgian team Palmans for the '97 season. Wilfried Nelissen has been Belgian National Champion on two occasions, is considered one of the fastest in the international peloton and last season won seven times: two stages at la Vuelta Andalucia, at la clasica de Almeria, three stages at the Etoile de Besseges and one stage at the prestigious Paris-Nice.
The Palmans riders, who will be directed by Walter Planckaert and Roger de Vlaeminck, are the following: Magnus Backstedt (SUE), Danny Daelman, Hans de Clercq, Mario de Clercq, Hans de Meester, Johan de Geyter, Christ Heyndryckx, Marc Janssens, Wilfried Nelissen, Wim Omloop, Kart Pauwels, Pedro Rubrecht, Peter Spaenhoven, Gert Vanderaerden, Steven van Malderghem and Gino Verheyden (all from Belgium).