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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News flash for January 15, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Ullrich confirms with Team Coast

Jan Ullrich has ended months of speculation by signing a contract with Team Coast. Ullrich's salary demands, and his insistence on a three year deal, precluded CSC's Bjarne Riis from signing his former teammate and cleared the way for Coast to step in with a deal reportedly worth at least 5 million euros over the three years.

Assurance of Team Coast's position in the UCI's Division I ranks was the final requirement for Ullrich to sign. Coast currently occupies 5th place in the UCI team rankings. Joining Ullrich at Coast will also be his former Telekom directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage and long-time training partner Tobias Steinhauser (ex-Gerolsteiner). The team will welcome Ullrich into the ranks at a training camp beginning Friday in Gandia, Spain.

Ullrich, 29, will join team leaders Alex Zülle and Angel Casero at Coast, with an eye on 2003 as a rebuilding year. The former Tour de France winner suffered a disastrous season in 2002, plagued by knee problems and further complicated by out of competition incidents, including his suspension until March 2003 for recreational drug use at a German night club.

"I will need 2003 to regain my best form,'' Ullrich said at a news conference. "Next year I want the Tour de France crown; 2004 and 2005 should be big years of success.''

JCTDU update: ONCE lose Arroyo, Hulsmans returns home

Spanish rider David Arroyo will undergo surgery on his right collar bone which he fractured in a crash today during a training ride in Adelaide, just six days before the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Arroyo was collecting bottles to take back to the team car as they were coming to the end of a 200km training ride and only had one hand on the 'bars. His front wheel hit a cat's eye lane-marker and knocked this hand from the handlebars, causing the fall.

The 22 year old from the ONCE-Eroski team is now in Adelaide's SportsMed hospital under the care of JCTDU race Doctor Peter Barnes.

"It's quite a nasty fracture and will need to be pinned so he'll be in here until at least Friday," said Dr Barnes. "He's pretty upset because it's not a great start to his season." Arroyo is equally upset because he suffered a fracture to his left collar bone in February last year which also impacted on his early season preparation. No one else was involved in the crash. His injury means he will not start in the race. Arroyo will be scheduled for surgery as soon as possible, either tonight or tomorrow morning, and will stay in Adelaide until the end of the event despite not starting.

Meantime 24 year old Belgian rider Kevin Hulsmans, of the Quick Step-Davitamon team, will fly home tomorrow at 3.30pm after CT Scans this morning identified an undisplaced fracture of the left femur, just below his hip joint.

"We were not sure yesterday as the x-rays did not reveal anything," said Team Doctor Toon Cruyt. "But the tests this morning show he will need surgery to pin it when he returns to Belgium."

Hulsmans, who has been confined to bed and prescribed pain medication, suffered a similar injury in 1995. In that instance he also fractured his left femur but higher up his leg closer to his hip joint. Quick Step- Davitamon Team Manager, Luca Guercilena, says it is too late now to fly in another rider from Europe and the team, which includes defending Tour champion, Michael Rogers, will start with seven riders.

ONCE-Eroski is also likely to start with seven riders.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)