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By Andrew Hood
Jef d’Hont — the former Telekom soigneur who spilled the beans on extensive doping practices within the German powerhouse during the 1990s — plans to reveal more accusations against Jan Ullrich in a new book.
The Belgian plans to publish in early 2008 new allegations that will point the finger squarely at 1997 Tour de France champ Ullrich.
“There will be new information incriminating Jan Ullrich in the book,” d’Hont told the German sports magazine, Sport Bild. “Jan Ullrich doped with EPO in 1996.”
D’Hont’s first book, “Confessions of a Soigneur,” released this spring, blew the lid on widespread doping practices within the German juggernaut in the mid-1990s.
The accusations led to a remarkable chain of public confessions among Germany’s biggest stars, including Erik Zabel, Rolf Aldag, Christian Henn and Udo Bolts.
Other former Telekom riders also stepped forward to admit to illicit doping practices during the 1990s, including Brian Holm and 1996 Tour champ Bjarne Riis, who became the first Tour winner to admit to using EPO.
Following the accusations and the ensuing spate of confessions, the management of the team was completely replaced. American telecommunications entrepreneur Bob Stapleton now heads the team. None of d’Hont’s allegations involve the new incarnation of the T-Mobile team.
The scandal also led to the firing of doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich, both of whom worked with riders in the 1990s and continued with the team under its current restructuring as T-Mobile.
Ullrich, however, has steadfastly denied he used banned performance-enhancing products.
The beleaguered Ullrich retired last year after his name was linked to controversial Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. German prosecutors have found evidence that Ullrich transferred tens of thousands of euros into Fuentes’ bank accounts and are considering charging Ullrich with sporting fraud.
Schleck to Tour?
Giro d’Italia phenom Andy Schleck could be taking aim for the Tour de France next year.
At the ripe age of 22, Schleck nearly rode away with this year’s Giro en route to finishing second overall and taking the best young rider’s category.Whether or not Schleck will make his Tour debut will likely be revealed this weekend.
Schleck and his older brother, Frank, are scheduled for a Saturday press conference in Luxembourg to discuss what’s expected to be contract extensions for the Schleck brothers that will keep the pair at Team CSC through the 2009 season.
Earlier this season, Schleck told VeloNews he wasn’t sure about his racing plans for 2008: “I don’t know yet. We still have to discuss my racing schedule for next year. I’ve proven I can ride a big tour. Maybe if I wait one more year before going to the Tour, that’s OK, too. Maybe I can go back and win the Giro. I’m pretty open. I know the Tour is the biggest race and I will eventually get there. I’m young. I have plenty of Tours ahead of me.”
Contract News: Stephens, two Colombians to Caisse d’Epargne, Ivanov to Italy
Veteran Aussie ex-pro Neil Stephens will joins Caisse d’Epargne as a sport director for the 2008 season. Stephens, who also works with the Australian cycling federation, lost his job following the collapse of the Liberty Seguros team in the wake of the Operación Puerto scandal in 2006. Stephens ended his own racing career following the 1998 Festina scandal.
The team also announced the arrival of Colombian riders Marlon Pérez Arango and Rigoberto Uran, who will ride through the 2009 season with the French-sponsored Spanish team. Pérez, 30, has been a pro for six years while Uran, only 20, is one of the top young prospects to come out of Colombia.
Ruslan Ivanov of Moldovia will ride for Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia for the 2008 season, bringing more firepower to the team led by iconoclastic Italian director Gianni Savio. Gilberto Simoni and Alessandro Bertolini are other new arrivals for the continental team looking to earn a bid to race the Giro next year.