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Photo ©: Sirotti

News for January 21, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich unlikely to join Armstrong at USPS

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Jan Ullrich
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

In his first interview since signing for Team Coast last week, a determined sounding Jan Ullrich told German daily Bild am Sonntag on January 19 that "Only I can challenge Armstrong in the Tour, so that's why I turned down an offer to ride in his (USPS) team."

Strange bedfellows? Indeed so, for when Cyclingnews spoke to USPS team director Johan Bruyneel at home in Spain as he prepared to leave for US Postal's training camp in Central California, Bruyneel seemed somewhat perplexed. "There has been no offer to Ullrich and no official contacts, either. I always say to leave the door open but in this case..."

Bruyneel continued, "There is really no place for Ullrich in our team, either. You know, sometimes there can be some unofficial contacts between riders and teams, but in this case, no offer."

Ullrich told Bild that he still needs a lot more training to challenge Armstrong. "In my right thigh, the muscles are still rebuilding, since the mass reduced by one-third. Plus my heart and circulation had less capacity. I'm going at least 5 km/h slower in training and still not in shape. My right knee tendons are the main problem; they need more time to re-build."

Ullrich will maintain his mainly solo training regimen, including gym training with weights to rebuild his leg strength through January, and hopes he can return to his normal training intensity in February. At the end of this week, Ullrich will join his new Team Coast squad for a a training camp in Gandia, Spain. Once Ullrich's suspension is lifted, the newest addition to Team Coast will make his 2003 debut in the Semana Catalana stage race in late March.

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


Images by AFP

Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under starts today

The fifth edition of Australia's biggest race, the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, starts this evening at 7:30pm local time with a 50 km criterium around Adelaide's East Park Lands. The riders will cover 25 laps of the two kilometre circuit starting on Rundle Road, vying for the chance to wear the first leader's yellow jersey. The race will continue over the next five days, finishing with another circuit race in Adelaide on January 26.

Some of the riders already discussed their chances at yesterday's press conference and team presentation, but tonight we'll find out who's really got the legs.

Cyclingnews will be covering each stage live from start to finish, with blow by blow reports and interviews as the race unfolds. For more, see the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under section on Cyclingnews, or visit the official site,

Hulsmans operated on

Belgian Kevin Hulsmans has had a successful operation on his femur, which the Quick Step-Davitamon rider fractured after he crashed in Adelaide last Tuesday. Dr Van Vlerken in Lommel (Belgium) performed the operation last Saturday, inserting a plate and four screws into Hulsmans leg.

Hulsmans started to walk on Monday with the help of crutches and will begin his rehabilitation tomorrow.

Fanini acquitted of extortion charges

The boss of the Italian Amore e Vita team, Ivano Fanini, has been acquitted of charges of extortion. The accusations were made by five riders and former directeur sportif Sandro Lerici, who claimed that in 1998 Fanini tried to force them to sign fake contracts, threatening to harm their cycling careers if they did not comply.

However, the court ruled that Fanini had not acted improperly, as Lerici was dismissed over a doping incident and the five riders were suspended because they refused to submit to anti-doping controls.

Source: Datasport

Lotto-Domo in search of oil

The new Belgian team Lotto-Domo has announced the eight riders that will start in the Tour of Qatar, from January 31 to February 4. With part of the team involved in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, the riders travelling to Qatar were recruited from the team's training camp in Calpe, Spain.

The week long camp, that started last Friday, January 17, saw Rik Verbrugghe, Ief Verbrugghe, Christophe Detilloux, Gorik Gardeyn, Leif Hoste, Koos Moerenhout, Leon van Bon, Stefan van Dijk, Serge Baguet, Christophe Brandt, Niko Eeckout, Axel Merckx, Peter Van Petegem and Aart Vierhouten all present for some warm pre-season training. Both Rik and Ief Verbrugghe, Detilloux, Gardeyn, Hoste, Moerenhout, Van Bon, and Van Dijk will fly to Qatar to compete in the UCI 2.3 classified race.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Deutschland Tour presentation

The fifth edition of the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany) was presented today in Dresden. Germany's national tour runs from June 3 to June 9, carrying a UCI ranking of 2.2, and is thus an important event at that busy time of year.

The defending champion is Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who used it last year as an important part of his preparation for the Tour de France. If he wants to defend his title this year, then he'll have to be on the start line in Dresden on June 3 for a 175 km road stage to Altenbourg.

In total, the Deutschland Tour covers 1229 km in seven stages, finishing in Saarbrücken on June 9. There are three 200+ km stages in a row, followed by a 41 km individual time trial in Bretten, which will no doubt be a key stage in the race.

The stages

  • Stage 1 - June 3: Dresden-Altenbourg, 175 km
  • Stage 2 - June 4: Altenbourg-Kronach, 193 km
  • Stage 3 - June 5: Coburg-Ansbach, 215 km
  • Stage 4 - June 6: Ansbach-Bad Wurzach, 211 km
  • Stage 5 - June 7: Ravensburg-Feldberg, 210 km
  • Stage 6 - June 8: Bretten-Bretten ITT, 41 km
  • Stage 7 - June 9: Bad Dürkheim-Saarbrücken, 184 km

Courtesy of João Cravo

World Road Championships countdown

There are only 259 days to go until the 2003 Road World Championships start in the streets of Hamilton, Canada on October 6. While they are still many months away at the moment, the World's are cycling's big end of year highlight, and many riders will already be planning their season around them. 10 rainbow jerseys will be awarded, starting with the junior women's time trial and finishing with the elite men's road race, and each of them will be intensely contested.

The event is expected to attract over 250,000 spectators, 750 athletes from more than 50 countries, 750 team support staff and 800 media into the region during that week.

More information can be obtained from the official site of the Championships:

Vuelta a España femenina postponed

The first edition of the Vuelta a España Femenina, proposed for April 3-12, has had to be postponed for 2003 after the organisers CDP couldn't find a sponsor. It was hoped that race would become the third major women's national tour, alongside the Grande Boucle Féminine and the Giro d'Italia, but now it will have to wait another year.

CDP had managed to gain UCI approval to hold the race at that time, along with guaranteed participation of the major women's teams, a confirmed race route, and the all important commitment from Spanish television TVE to broadcast the race.

"We have all the necessary elements to convert the race into a great international sporting event," said CDP general director Bernardino Lombao. "All that is lacking is a commercial sponsor."

Lombao was confident that he would be able to hold the race in 2004 however.

Alpine Classic cancelled

The 2003 Alpine Classic, one of the most popular race/rides in Australia, has been cancelled due to the fire conditions in northeast Victoria. The ride, ranging in length from 85km to 200km through the Alpine region of Victoria, was deemed too dangerous with the large amount of bushfires still out of control at this stage and thick smoke covering most of the state.

The organisers stated on their website that "if the fire situation was to improve we would not be in a position to reinstate the event."

Eadie to ride Queensland Summer Cycling Track Carnival

World champion Sean Eadie will be one of the biggest stars riding in the inaugural Queensland Summer Track Cycling Carnival, which boasts $23,000 in prize money. Eadie will be competing against Kial Stewart, Danny Day, Junior World Champion Wade Cosgrove, past World Champions Sean and Jeff Hopkins, USA rider Jeff Lawler and New Zealand rider Damian Wiseman, amongst others.

The six day carnival, which starts on Tuesday, January 21, will be held at Chandler and Nerang Velodromes. Broncos, Balmoral, Wynum, Kangaroo Point, and the Gold Coast Cats will be hosting the remaining events. The first three carnivals will be at Chandler, while the last three are at Nerang.

"The carnival is being held to raise the profile of track racing, and provide the chance for elite athletes, and juniors to prepare for state, national and world titles," said Cycling Queensland spokesman Jeff Schneider.

"There is going to be some fast and skilled action at these races - especially with $23,000 up for grabs," added Schneider. "Queensland has World and Commonwealth champions and it would be great for the Brisbane and Gold Coast communities to turn up and show their support for these great athletes."

Junior racing starts at 5pm, while the seniors will take to the track at 6.30pm.

Sinden to

Chris Sinden will be riding for British MTB team for the 2003 season. Chris won a number of races in 2002, and finished in the top three in the Pedalhounds series. He also won the Aston Hill series, was second overall at the SAMS, came fifth at the Northern area championships and second at the Nantmwar Winter Race.

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