News

Tuesday’s Euro-file: Telekom ready to sign Savoldelli; Zabel still tops rankings and more

Germany’s Telekom team is on the verge of signing Giro d’ Italia winnerPaolo Savoldelli, team manager Walter Godefroot said Tuesday.Godefroot said the team has also offered a new contract to 1997 Tourde France winner Jan Ullrich, who is sitting out a six-month banafter he tested positive for amphetamines in June. Godefroot said Savoldelli, of the Italian Index-Alexia team, has agreedterms with Telekom. "All we need is his signature," he said.The 29-year-old Italian is likely to be called to work for former Tourwinner Ullrich once and if he officially returns to competition on March23, 2003.It

By Andrew Hood

Germany’s Telekom team is on the verge of signing Giro d’ Italia winnerPaolo Savoldelli, team manager Walter Godefroot said Tuesday.Godefroot said the team has also offered a new contract to 1997 Tourde France winner Jan Ullrich, who is sitting out a six-month banafter he tested positive for amphetamines in June.
 
Godefroot said Savoldelli, of the Italian Index-Alexia team, has agreedterms with Telekom. “All we need is his signature,” he said.The 29-year-old Italian is likely to be called to work for former Tourwinner Ullrich once and if he officially returns to competition on March23, 2003.It is unknown if Ullrich will continue with the team, especially asTelekom signed promising young Australian Cadel Evans – who hasbeen tipped as a future Tour winner – last week.”We’ve offered him a contract, now it’s up for Jan to decide,” addedGodefroot when if he knew about the plans of his Olympic road race champion.Meanwhile, Savoldelli’s switch to the German team could have adverseeffects on his immediate future. With the Vuelta a España startingon Saturday, his current Index-Alexia team has reportedly pulled him offits list of riders for three-week race.However, any move by Index to leave Savoldelli out could leave the teamin hot water with Vuelta organizers, who invited the team largely on themerit of Savoldelli’s Giro win earlier this year.Ullrich, who underwent a knee operation earlier this season and didnot race the Tour de France, tested positive for amphetamines in June andadmitted to taking recreational drugs while out on a night out with friends.Zabel still leads UCI rankings
Telekom sprint ace Erik Zabel remains atop the latest UCI roadrankings released Sunday while American Lance Armstrong is third.Armstrong is top in the year-to-date rankings, but Zabel holds the edgeover Paolo Bettini and Armstrong in the year ranking dating backto races through the same time last year. Levi Leipheimer is ranked 15th.UCI Rankings, as of September 3, 2002
(current standing followed by previous rankings)1. 1. ZABEL Erik – Telekom, (G), 2344.00
2. 2. BETTINI Paolo – Mapei, (I), 2097.00
3. 3. ARMSTRONG Lance – U.S. Postal, (USA), 2089.00
4. 4. FRIGO Dario – Tacconi Sport, (I), 1529.00
5. 6. FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar – Mapei,  (Sp), 1489.75
6. 5. DEKKER Erik – Rabobank, (Nl), 1466.60
7. 7. MCEWEN Robbie – Lotto, (Aus), 1431.75
8. 8. CASAGRANDE Francesco – Fassa Bortolo, (I), 1284.00
9. 10. REBELLIN Davide – Gerolsteiner, (I), 1281.00
10. 9. BOTERO ECHEVERRY Santiago – Kelme, (Col), 1275.40
11. 11. DI LUCA Danilo – Saeco, (I), 1245.00
12. 13. SEVILLA RIBERA Oscar – Kelme,  (Sp), 1142.40
13. 12. CIPOLLINI Mario – Aqua e Sapone, (I), 1134.00
14. 15. BOOGERD Michael – Rabobank, (Nl), 1088.60
15. 14. LEIPHEIMER Levi – Rabobank (USA), 1069.60
16. 16. ZUELLE Alex – Coast, (Swi),  1053.00
17. 17. HERAS HERNANDEZ Roberto – U.S. Postal, (Sp), 1004.75
18. 26. JALABERT Laurent  – CSC,  (F), 1004.00
19. 18. VAN PETEGEM Peter – Lotto,  (B), 991.75
20. 19. GONZALEZ DE GALDEANO Igor – ONCE (Sp), 965.00Rasmussen likely to stay with CSC-Tiscali
Michael Rasmussen showed up to the Kaprun worlds to check inon his old mates. Rasmussen switched to racing on the road last year afterhe won the 1999 world mountain bike title in similar rainy conditions inSweden, but says he doesn’t miss the mountain bike scene.“It’s nice to come back, but I prefer racing on the road now,” saidRasmussen, who won the “queen’s stage” of the 2002 Tour of Burgos backin August. Rasmussen has had a solid 2002 season and said he expects tostay with the CSC-Tiscali team for the 2003 season despite not having anythingsigned yet.He said CSC-Tiscali team manager Bjarne Riis is still hunting for bignames to replace retiring star Laurent Jalabert.Hubi goes out in style
Italian cross-country race Hubert Pallhuber went out in stylein Sunday’s world championships, posting an impressive seventh-place finishbehind winner Roland Green of Canada. Pallhuber, 37, won the worldsin 1997 but hasn’t been racing as much these days, making his strong finishthat much more surprising.“This race is my way to say goodbye to mountain biking. Finishing thisgood makes it even better,” said Pallhuber, who was hanging in the top-fiveuntil he crashed hard on the third of five loops on the rainy, muddy course.“I have only raced a few national races in Italy this year, so thisresult is kind of surprising,” said ‘Hubi,’ one of the more popular riderson the circuit.Pallhuber now is spending most of his time as the manager of his newteam. He’s still in excellent shape, but said his last race of his professionalcareer will be Roc d’Azur in France in October.“I still might race a few raids, marathons, things like that, but it’stime for me to quit,” said Pallhuber. “I’ve had a great career. I’m verysatisfied.”