By Andrew Hood
Fresh off winning Tuesday’s rainy stage into Soria in the 59th Vuelta a España, Alejandro Valverde said he will leave the troubled Valenciana-Kelme team if it’s not included in next year’s UCI Pro Tour.
“I still don’t know what I am doing. I still have three years of contract with Valenciana-Kelme and in principal I have to continue with them,” Valverde told the Spanish daily AS. “The team has asked for a racing license to be in the Pro Tour but it appears it’s not sure they’re going to get it. And if I am going to be among the best then it’s obvious that I have to go.”
Several teams have been trying to lure the Spanish star, among them Rabobank, Quick Step and Saeco.
Rogers gets Millar’s TT title
Aussie Michael Rogers was awarded the 2003 time trial world title by the UCI on Tuesday after British rider David Millar decided not to appeal his drug-related disqualification.
The silver and bronze medals go to German riders Uwe Peschel and Michael Rich, respectively.
Millar was given a two-year suspension by his cycling federation after telling a French judge he used EPO. He voluntarily withdrew from the British Olympic team and was barred from this summer’s Tour de France.
French police raided Millar’s home in Biarritz, France, in late June as part of a doping investigation into his Cofidis team, and found two used syringes. Millar, 27, told a French judge he used the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO on three separate occasions, once in 2001 and twice in 2003.
Millar could have opted to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. –Agence France Presse
Ullrich wants a few more years and another Tour
German ace Jan Ullrich said he only wants to race for a “maximum of two to three years” with the Tour de France his sole aim. According to an interview with Eurosport, the 1997 Tour champion says he still believes he can win cycling’s most important race.
“In all likelihood I will cycle for a maximum of two to three years,” Ullrich said. “I will use this time to reach my target of winning the Tour. Everything else is secondary.”
Ullrich won the Tour in only his second start, but has been runner-up five times. In 2004, Ullrich finished fourth, the first time he hadn’t finished second or better in any Tour start. The 30-year-old German said he believes he can beat six-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.
“It is still possible to win the Tour even with Armstrong in it,” Ullrich said. “I hope he is at the start next year.”
Farrar still second in Avenir
American rider Tyler Farrar remains second overall in the Tour de l’Avenir after five stages. French rider Sebastian Chavanel (Boulangere) won Monday’s fifth stage in a sprint. Spanish rider Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Relax-Bodysol) retained the overall lead, with Farrar sitting second at 4 seconds back. The race continues Tuesday with the 142km sixth stage from Yutz to Metz.
Yates to Discovery
Sean Yates, who rode with Lance Armstrong when the six-time Tour de France winner turned pro with Motorola, will rejoin the American as a team manager next season with the new Discovery Channel team. The 44-year old Briton will leave CSC for a three-year deal, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. Yates, who has worn the yellow jersey on the Tour de France, raced with Armstrong from 1992-96. Yates’ move to Discovery reportedly came at the behest of Armstrong, who trained with Yates during a visit to England earlier this season.
“I’ve always wanted to work with Lance in some shape or form, and the fact that it’s a three-year deal will give me some security,” Yates told The Guardian. “Discovery needs an extra manager for next year, because they will be racing an enlarged program that includes all the three major Tours, Italy, France and Spain.” The newspaper also reported that British cycling authorities are lobbying to expand the Tour of Britain to not only include Wales, but also Scotland and Ireland. The aim is to secure a place on the UCI Protour calendar.
Transfer news: Yates, Dean, Cuesta, Moreni and more
Transfer season is in full swing. Here’s the latest: Credit Agricole has extended contracts with Olympic track gold medalist Bradley Wiggins and Kiwi sprinter Julian Dean for the 2005 season. … Iñigo Cuesta, the veteran Spanish rider, will leave Cofidis to join Saunier Duval. … Italian champion Cristian Moreni is set to leave Alessio-Bianchi for Quick Step. French star Richard Virenque is set to extend his contract for one more year with Quick Step. … Fassa Bortolo denied reports that Tour de France prologue winner Fabian Cancellara is going to Phonak, insisting the Swiss star is staying with the Italian team for 2005. … Cadel Evans confirmed on his web page that reports he’s joining the new Belgian team Davitamon-Lotto for two years as team leader for the Tour de France. … and Eurosport reports that VeloNews diarist Magnus Backstedt will leave Alessio-Bianchi for Liquigas.