First Edition News for September 22, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
Ullrich nearing a decision
With several contract offers on the table for 2004, Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) is hoping to reach a decision soon concerning his future. Ullrich affirmed his eagerness to decide his plans for the coming season, ideally before setting off on a vacation with his girlfriend Gaby and their daughter Sarah Maria.
According to German paper Bild am Sonntag, a possible Bianchi-Saeco merger, whereby Bianchi would become bicycle sponsor for the Italian team and in the process being Ullrich and his entourage, is no longer the likely outcome for the Tour de France runner up. Ullrich reportedly has three offers to consider along with his manager Wolfgang Strohband and directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage.
Team Telekom manager Walter Godefroot has made a play for Ullrich's signature, reportedly with an offer of 2.5 million euros per season. Nonetheless, the Godefroot-Pevenage rift that developed after Ullrich's departure (with Pevenage) for Team Coast in 2002 remains possible roadblock for any return to the Telekom fold.
"Before taking several days of vacation with Sarah Maria and Gaby, I want to clarify my future," Ullrich said. "It's a difficult decision. I feel responsible for my teammates. That's why I've let several deadlines that were set for me go by."
Indeed, the salvaging of Team Coast was made possible largely because of Ullrich's presence, and if Bianchi followed him to another team, the majority of the current team roster could once again be in dire straits after what has been a difficult period following the collapse of Coast. Ullrich continues to maintain that money is not his motivation, rather the perfect team built around his fundamental desire to win his second Tour de France.
"Before I can really go head to head with Lance Armstrong in the Tour, everything has to come together within a team, from the mechanic to the choice of teammates," he said. "The time for experimentation has ended."
Bettini happy with form
After finishing 25th in Saturday's Hors Categorie Giro del Lazio, World Cup leader Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) has expressed satisfaction with his form leading into the World Championships. "I'm happy with how I rode today," said Bettini. "I'm in good shape and I felt pretty well during the race. Thankfully my legs are strong and in great condition. I've just got to complete my preparation with specific training that I'll be doing during the week. The races that lead up to the World Championships will be useful for me at the appropriate moment."
Bettini's teammate Luca Paolini is also a potential World's candidate, but didn't have the best of days in Lazio, and did not finish. "Today was a negative day for me," said Paolini. "I was fine during the last few races that I've taken part in in Belgium. Over the next few days I'll be training with Bettini and on Thursday, I'll be taking part in the Coppa Sabatini".
Vuelta traffic jams
By Hernán Alvarez Macías
Such a huge event like a national tour can cause some problems with a region's normal traffic. And that's what happened today as the Vuelta travelled along an important Spanish national road (N 4), causing big traffic jams in the vicinity of the race. The Vuelta used 70 km of the N4 which led to a line of cars 50 km long. In its defence, organising company Unipublic told Spanish radio that the alternative roads are not in good enough condition to be used for the Vuelta.
Team fakta looking for merger with Alessio
Danish team fakta may be able to keep its place in division I by merging with Italian team Alessio next season. Both teams are currently division I, but both are also on the smaller end of the budget scale. At the moment, fakta's manager Peter Sejer has signed a letter of intent to merge with Alessio, but there remain some important details to be sorted out before it becomes a reality.
Team fakta was facing (at the very least) a serious scaling down after the main sponsor (a Danish supermarket chain) withdrew its support for next season. Sejer is currently looking for a co-sponsor to fill the gap, but despite many promising leads, nothing has yet been signed. For the merger to come off, Sejer will need to secure the necessary sponsorship for the riders (between 8-10) and staff he intends to bring to the team.
The merger would allow some of Team fakta's riders to take part in the grand tours and the World Cup races, while Alessio could scale down its involvement to supporting between 10-15 riders. From the fakta side, Magnus Bäckstedt, Frank Hĝj's and road captain and Cyclingnews diarist Scott Sunderland would be likely to make the transfer. After an impressive ride in this year's Giro, and now shaping up towards a World Championship selection, the most experienced Australian pro in the peloton would enter his 15th season as a pro.
Vervecken to race in U.S.
2001 World Cyclo-cross Champion Erwin Vervecken is set to go for the upcoming 'cross season, having fully recovered from the broken wrist he sustained in the Ronde van Vlaamse Brabant. He will debut in Belgium on September 28 in Erpe-Mere, and is also scheduled to race the Clif Bar Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross on October 11 in the USA.
Taking place at Fort Steilacoom Park in Tacoma, Washington, this is a UCI Cat. 2 event and thus will be important for US riders seeking UCI points for World Championships selection. The event features a generous prize list, especially for women, whose purse will match the men's purse.
Women's RVV to be part of World Cup
The organiser's of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) will next year hold a women's race on the same day (April 4) as the men's, with the women finishing a few hours before the men in Meerbeke-Ninove. Both races will be part of the UCI Road World Cup calendar. All that remains is for the event to be approved by the UCI at its management committee meeting in Hamilton in October.
63rd Circuit Franco-Belge
Starting next Thursday, September 25 is the 63rd edition of the Circuit Franco-Belge, a four day UCI 2.3 stage race that takes place mainly in the south western part of Belgium. The race starts in Cesmes and finishes in Tournai, with each stage between 180 and 195 km. The race is an important one for the Belgians riding in the World's, and all four division I Belgian teams will be present.
September 25: Cuesmes - Lessine, 179,3 km
Lotto-Domo, Quick Step-Davitamon, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Palmans-Collstrop, CSC, Team fakta, Brioches La Boulangère, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, FDjeux.com, Jean Delatour, Rabobank (mixed TT1 and TT3), Telekom, Team Bianchi, US Postal-Berry Floor and a Belgian U23 team.
Polish team for the World's
The Polish selectors have named the full team to contest the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada between October 7-12. The riders are as follows:
1 Dawid Krupa (RR, ITT) - 1980 - Legia Bazyliszek Lux Med.
Courtesy: Wirtualna Polska
Strong Leinster team for TQ Paper 2 Day
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
With the TQ Paper International Ladies two-day now less than two weeks away, team managers Tosh Lavery and Valerie Considine have announced an impressively strong Leinster squad. The six-rider team comprises women's league winner Siobhan Jacobs, Roisin Kennedy, Beth McCluskey, Orla Hendron, Susan O'Mara and former world rowing champion Sinead Jennings, who is crossing over to bike racing in fine style.
"The team is very strong and we think they will do very well in the race," says Lavery, who is greatly impressed by the two rowers. "Sinead Jennings is only really starting and has to learn the tactics of racing, but she is pure class on the bike. She is very fit and has a very stylish pedalling action...she is going to be very good. Siobhan Jacobs has come from the same sport and she too is very strong. Together with the other girls, I think we have a great team."
Jacobs ensured her win in the women's league during the week with a strong ride in the final round at Boot Inn, won by Roisin Kennedy (Jacob's finished fourth).
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