Telekom’s $10 million assault on the TDF

Team Telekom announced that it is throwing its biggest-ever budget at an assault on the Tour de France, won four years ago by its rider Jan Ullrich. Ullrich told journalists at the team's 2001 season launch, held in Bonn on January 29, that he was hungry for another yellow jersey, and said he was in the sort of shape to challenge reigning champion Lance Armstrong. "Every year that I don't win the Tour is a lost year," said the 27-year-old from Rostock in the former East Germany. "It's been a long time since I've been in such good shape and whatever happens I want to

By VeloNews Interactive Wire ServicesCopyright AFP 2001

Team Telekom announced that it is throwing its biggest-ever budget at an assault on the Tour de France, won four years ago by its rider Jan Ullrich. Ullrich told journalists at the team’s 2001 season launch, held in Bonn on January 29, that he was hungry for another yellow jersey, and said he was in the sort of shape to challenge reigning champion Lance Armstrong.

“Every year that I don’t win the Tour is a lost year,” said the 27-year-old from Rostock in the former East Germany. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such good shape and whatever happens I want to win my second Tour.”

And Telekom will be doing everything to allow its star rider to achieve that goal, with a budget of $10.1 million (U.S.), the largest since the team was formed in 1991.

“The Tour is still the last word, but we also want to win the other classic races,” said Telekom’s sporting director Walter Godefroot.

The team’s officials believe Ullrich will be helped in the mountain stages by new signing American rider Kevin Livingston, who was Armstrong’s trusted assistant at U.S. Postal. The squad has added four other quality recruits in Italian climber Roberto Sgambelluri, Germans Andreas Klier and Olympic track champion Robert Bartko and the promising Torsten Hiekmann.

Ullrich, who finished second in the Tour de France in 1998 2000, said he was happy with his preparation, which this year took him to South Africa at Christmas in a change to his normal routine. He will start his competitive season in either the Luis Puig Trophy race on February 25 or the Tour of Valencia, February 27 to March 3.

Another Telekom star, 2000 World Cup winner Erik Zabel, said his priority would be Milan-San Remo, which he has won three times since 1997, and Paris-.

Telekom is considering entering the Tour of Italy for the first time since 1995.

Copyright AFP 2001

TELEKOM 2001 Roster.

Jan Ullrich (Ger) 27
Erik Zabel (Ger) 30
Rolf Aldag (Ger) 32
Robert Bartko (Ger) 25
Udo Bolts (Ger) 34
Alberto Elli (Ita) 36
Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Ita) 30
Ralf Grabsch (Ger) 27
Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)
Jens Heppner (Ger) 36
Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) 20
Danilo Hondo (Ger) 27
Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) 31
Matthias Kessler (Ger) 21
Andreas Klier (Ger) 25
Andreas Kloden (Ger) 25
Kevin Livingston (USA) 27
Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 31
Andrei Misurov (Kaz) 27
Jan Schaffrath (Ger) 29
Stephan Schreck (Ger) 22
Roberto Sgambelluri (Ita) 26
Gerhard Trampusch (Ger) 22
Steffen Wesemann (Ger) 29
Alexander Winokurov (Kaz) 27