The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Former German star, Rudi Altig, last week openly criticised Jan Ullrich and his T-Mobile squad in the Retulinger General-Anzieger. In response to Ullrich?s proclaimed desire to compete in the German national Tour later in the year, Altig said, "Jan has often enough wanted something absolutely and it hasn't always worked out. But it's good that he said it. If he comes and takes it seriously, then he will have to be in good shape. Let's wait and see." <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
He went on to doubt that the boys in pink could over throw fellow German outfit, Gerolsteiner, in the race however. "The problem is obvious: T-Mobile is Jan Ullrich. Everything depends on him. If he wins the Tour de France, I would be happy. I think it all depends on his head. Right now he is training in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Venezuelan climber and protagonist in the 2005 Giro d?Italia, Jos? Rujano, has so far managed to avoid returning to Europe to line up for his team, Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni. At the centre of the on-going dispute is Rujano?s proposed mid-season transfer to Patrick Lefevere?s Quick.Step team.
Rujano was expected last week to appear at the Selle Italia team launch in
For their part, Selle Italia were keen to not be seen adding fuel to the fire. Team boss Gianni Savio said in la Gazetta dello Sport, ?I don't want to have a big conflict here. We've respected all the contractual clauses. (Rujano) is supposed to race in the GP Chiasso and Lugano this weekend. We'll see if he shows up."
The on going drama resolves around the clause in his Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni which allows him to leave the team mid-way through 2006. When the team submitted their registration details to the UCI, their auditors, Ernst & Young, would not accept this and insisted that Rujano sign a contract for the full season with Selle Italia. His future is now a little less clear.
Speaking to La Gazetta dello Sport, Lefevre was coy as he spoke of the situation and Rujano?s on-going absence from his team and the European races. ?This situation is unfortunate...I don't like riders who don't race. I can only say that Rujano will be my rider when he has his release from Savio and Selle Italia. I have an agreement with Savio and I will respect it. As far as whether Rujano will ride the Tour De France, it's much too early to say, but it's not his decision anyway."
"At this point, it's almost impossible to imagine that (Rujano) will ride the Tour."
ASO, organisers of the classic race, Paris-Roubaix, last week announced the return of