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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for October 30, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

Ullrich's transfer could cost him

Jan Ullrich in the stage 19 time trial in the Tour de France
Photo: © Jon Devich
Click for larger image

Jan Ullrich's transfer from Team Bianchi to the Telekom cycling team could cost him €600,000 in lost salary, German newspaper Bild reports. Ullrich, who signed a contract worth approximately €1.7 million this year, has allegedly not been paid by Bianchi since August, and there has already been threatening correspondence between Ullrich and Bianchi team manager Jacques Hanegraaf. If Ullrich isn't paid until December 31, 2003, he will effectively lose €600,000.

"It's incredible that there have been money problems around Jan for the entire season," said Telekom's spokesman Olaf Ludwig to Bild. "First in Coast, now in Bianchi. There's never been such a thing like that."

Team Bianchi is reportedly taking legal action against Ullrich and Telekom, after Ullrich was presented with his new team on October 23. According to Ludwig, "If a rider leaves us, he can be presented in his new team, but certainly not be seen in the jersey of his new employer in photos."

ONCE to become Liberty Seguros

ONCE-Eroski team director Manolo Saiz has announced the name of the new sponsor that will take over the team: Liberty Seguros. The company, part of multinational financial and insurance giant Liberty Mutual, will sponsor the team for the next five years, ensuring that Saiz has plenty of scope to work on improving the squad.

The team composition will be much the same as this year's ONCE squad, with riders like Isidro Nozal, Igor González de Galdeano, Koldo Gil and Allan Davis all part of it. It's not yet confirmed whether Joseba Beloki will remain with the team, although he has not yet signed for another squad.

ONCE, the Spanish blind society, has sponsored the team for the last 15 years. During this time the team has harvested more than 400 victories including four Vueltas a Espana, two World Time Trial Championships and many other stage race victories. The Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France eluded the team, although it recorded several podium finishes in these two grand tours.

ONCE eventually decided to bow out this year due to the fact that everyone in Spain now recognises ONCE. It will however sponsor the Spanish paralympic team for the Games in Athens next year.

Casero to Kelme

Spanish cyclist Angel Casero (Team Bianchi) is set to sign for Kelme-Costa Blanca, according to Meta 2Mil. All that needs to be determined is how much the team can afford, and this is dependent on the contribution of one of the team's main sponsors, the Generalitat Valenciana.

Kelme's team manager Vicente Belda told Meta 2Mil, "The transfers have been suspended until we know exactly what the budget will be in 2004." The team's budget will also determine whether it will race the Giro d'Italia next year, along with the Tour and the Vuelta.

Casero said that he has asked for "two years contract and I would be happy to have it all clear before Sunday, because I have an offer from a very interesting foreign team although I cannot reveal its name."

If he signs for Kelme, Casero said he would aim for the podium in the Tour de France.

Saturn and Prime Alliance managements team up

The management companies behind two of the US-based cycling teams that have found themselves sponsorless for 2004 are getting together in an attempt to combine their forces to find corporate backing for the coming season. Team Sports (owner of the Saturn team) and Paceline Team Sports, the organisation that runs the Prime Alliance team will join forces in the hope that the combination of the top two US teams will prove attractive to new sponsors.

Saturn decided last month not to renew the title sponsorship of the team run by Team Sports' Tom Schuler, and Prime Alliance wants to scale back its title sponsorship role in the team run by Paceline Team Sports' Tom Irvine, who is also CEO of Prime Alliance. The two Toms say it therefore makes sense to team up.

"Joining forces with Prime Alliance only makes our cycling sponsorship that much more valuable for our new partners," said Tom Schuler, while Tom Irvine added that the combination would be, "an incredibly strong platform for new sponsorships."

Despite the optimistic statements, no new sponsors have yet been announced, though Schuler and Irvine say they hope to maintain relationships with the majority of current co-sponsors and industry sponsors of the Saturn team.

Francophone neighbours boost Tour du Ghana

Riders from four neighbouring French-speaking nations, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Cote D'Ivoire are expected to strength Ghana's biggest cycling event, the Tour du Ghana which runs November 16 to 22, according to a report from news agency GNA.

The race will feature Ghana's best cyclists including John Zormelo, Rudolf Mensah, Waryo, Djanmang and Aryitey Akoto plus riders from three other clubs. It will cover a total of 450 kilometres from Accra through Koforidua, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, Buipe, Kintampo to Mataheko in Accra.

Mr Frances Kopesenu, General Secretary of the Ghana Cycling Association told GNA Sports that the cycling team which was excluded from the recent All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria would be using the competition to prove to Ghanaians the stuff they are made of. He expressed optimism that the Ghanaians will scale over their francophone counterparts with a little bit of support.

Mr Kpesenu said Sporpub, international cycling promoters are sponsoring the event with local support from Big, Novotel, Pepsi, Wienco, GLICO and Woodin.

Ride with Lance Armstrong up for auction

By Carlton Reid,

$10,000 is the starting bid for a mountain bike ride with Lance Armstrong. The charity auction on eBay is being organised by Wired magazine to raise funds for the Starbright Foundation, a charity that helps kids with serious illnesses. As well as the ride with Lance (scheduled for Los Angeles on Friday November 14), the auction is full of with standard Wired-type tech products, and exclusives such as a one-carat vivid yellow-orange diamond, a 2004 Jaguar XJ-R, and Uma Thurman's Dior Jacket.

All bidding is taking place online at eBay until November 5. US residents only.

Thanks from friends of Eddie B

The response from the cycling community to the news that famed coach Eddie Borysewicz had lost his house in the California fires has been "amazing" according to cycling photographer Mitchell Clinton. Clinton and his wife Kathleen have been helping Borysewicz - universally known as Eddie B - as he tries to rebuild after the fire that consumed his property on October 27.

"The list of emails that have been coming in from people wanting to help is amazing," Clinton told Cyclingnews. "Many of the emails say 'I hope something good comes from this'. It has. Many old friends have come out of the wood work wanting to help and friends Eddie did not even know he had. This has really lifted his morale."

The fire destroyed most of the memorabilia that Eddie B had accumulated during a coaching career that included the job of first national Coaching Director of the United States Cycling Federation and coaching the 1984 Olympic Team that won nine medals in Los Angeles, the first US Olympic cycling medals since 1912. However, Clinton said the most upsetting loss was the few photographs Eddie B had of his parents.

"He is starting to realize that he has a group of people that really care for him," said Clinton. "Once I get it through his thick head that the photos of his parents are just shadows of a memory and that they will always be with him in his heart, I think he will be okay."

The Clintons have set up a PayPal account for Eddie B, pledging that "every dollar sent to this account is immediately available to him."

To help Eddie B out, click here.

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