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Monday’s EuroFile: Baal leaves Tour; Where’s Jan? New schedule for Zabel

Daniel Baal, the man widely tipped as the next Tour de France chief, has quit as deputy director of the world's biggest cycling race, organizers Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) announced Monday. Baal, an outspoken anti-doping campaigner and regarded as the likely candidate to take over from director Jean-Marie Leblanc, had already planned to quit as ASO director of cycling at the end of January. The ASO group said that French television journalist Christian Prudhomme, 43, will join the team from January 1 and will be second in command to Leblanc. Prudhomme has worked in sports television

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By VeloNews Interactive, With wire services

Still under contract with Bianchi, Ullrich did not want to stir the pot.

Still under contract with Bianchi, Ullrich did not want to stir the pot.

Photo: AFP (file photo)

Baal

Baal

Photo: AFP

Daniel Baal, the man widely tipped as the next Tour de France chief, has quit as deputy director of the world’s biggest cycling race, organizers Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) announced Monday. Baal, an outspoken anti-doping campaigner and regarded as the likely candidate to take over from director Jean-Marie Leblanc, had already planned to quit as ASO director of cycling at the end of January.

The ASO group said that French television journalist Christian Prudhomme, 43, will join the team from January 1 and will be second in command to Leblanc. Prudhomme has worked in sports television and radio for about 10 years, and is currently editor-in-chief of Frances Télévisions.

Leblanc, who had planned to retire in 2004, announced last June that he would be pushing his departure back at the request of the ASO group.

A former rider and journalist, the 59-year-old Leblanc has been in charge of the Tour since 1989.
(Copyright AFP2003)
Ullrich skips T-Mobile roll-out
Tour de France runner-up Jan Ullrich surprisingly opted out of Monday’s public presentation of the T-Mobile team here with his ongoing dispute with current employer Bianchi thought to have been behind his late cancellation.

Ullrich, 29, is currently at odds with the Bianchi team after his official presentation by the Telekom team – to be called T-Mobile from 2004 – on October 6 angered the Italian team to the extent that they withheld a reported 600,000 euros ($709,000) of his salary.

Ullrich, who will join the T-Mobile team on January 1 when his contract with Bianchi expires, wanted to avoid an escalation of the situation and disappointed eager reporters by staying at home.

“It is a shame but the decision was Jan’s alone,” confirmed T-Mobile team boss Walter Godefroot. “It is something I have not experienced in cycling before. It is quite normal for the team to meet up and discuss plans for the coming season.”

However, Godefroot is looking forward to challenging for the Tour de France crown in 2004 and believes Ullrich could repeat his success of 1997.

“We have one of the best teams in the world,” declared Godefroot. “There is (Lance) Armstrong and Ullrich but I think that in the main we are better equipped.”

Despite his no show for “personal reasons,” team members insisted that Ullrich will be available for February’s Tour of Mallorca.

“The next official get together is at our training camp in Mallorca on January 10,” said team leader Mario Kummer. “Of course Jan will be there.”
(Copyright AFP2003)

Zabel scales back World Cup plans
German rider Erik Zabel confirmed Monday that he will ride in just two of the five World Cup races in the coming season.

The 33-year-old T-Mobile rider said that he was saving his energy for the Tour de France, Olympic Games and world championships, three “important dates” for the German.

The six-time Tour de France green jersey winner will compete at Milan-San Remo in March, a race he has won four times, and the Amstel Gold Race the following month. “With the Tour de France, the Olympic Games in Athens and the world championships in October in Verona (Italy) next year includes important dates for me,” said the world number two.

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