By Andrew Hood
Jan Ullrich and his T-Mobile teammates are hoping a military-style training camp in the Austrian Alps will deliver stronger results in the coming season.
T-Mobile recently concluded a team meeting that included two-and-a-half days of team-building exercises in the snowy mountains. Team members hiked through heavy snow, built a rope bridge across a canyon and prepared meals together.
“We went into a lot of these challenges, thinking we would never manage it,” Ullrich said on T-Mobile’s web page. “But everybody weighed in, so that we devised the right strategy to achieve our goals. It was very motivating and is bound to help us in the coming season.”
Team and staff also planned out the coming season and got kitted out with new bikes and gear. Later, some of the team traveled to the headquarters of T-Mobile co-sponsor Audi for wind-tunnel testing.
Heras’s lawyers vow battle if positive test confirmed
Attorneys representing four-time Vuelta a España champion Roberto Heras are promising a lengthy court battle if a counter-analysis comes back positive for EPO.
Officials are expected to disclose as soon as Wednesday the results of Heras’s urine test conducted Monday in Madrid. According to reports in the Spanish media, the test was conducted without incident or irregularities. To be sure, officials from the Spanish lab have also mailed results to a French lab for confirmation.
Heras has denied using the banned blood-booster despite testing positive in samples taken in the Vuelta’s penultimate stage.
If the results prove negative, Heras would be cleared of any doping allegations. If positive, he would be stripped of his Vuelta title and sanctioned with a two-year racing ban.
His legal team promises a battle that would reach beyond the traditional structure of taking an appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport. Attorneys insist they would challenge the reliability of the EPO test, which has recently come under fire.
Millar confirmed with Saunier Duval
David Millar’s return to elite racing is confirmed after signing a contract to join Saunier Duval for the 2006 season.
Spanish daily Dario Vasco reported that Millar – who is serving a two-year racing ban for admitting to taking the banned blood-booster EPO – has finalized his contract with the Spanish ProTour team.
The duration of the ban, pegged to the date of his confession in June 2004, opens the door for Millar to return to the Tour. If he’s named to the Tour squad as expected, he’ll line up as one of the favorites to win the prologue on the streets of Strasbourg.
Millar was stripped of his 2003 world time trial title, kicked off the British national team and slapped with a two-year racing ban after admitting to authorities – while being held in a French jail – that he used banned products to earn some of his biggest results.