Tuesday’s Euro-File: Ullrich set to sign; Escartin leaving? Mapei is. Zabel ends year on top.

One-time Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich is close to signing a new deal with Danish CSC team, his manager Wolfgang Strohband said on Tuesday."Everything has been discussed and clarified and I am expecting a signature soon," Strohband told the German news agency SID.The 28-year-old Ullrich, the only German to win the Tour de France when he triumphed in 1997, will again link up with Denmark's Bjarne Riis.The two rode together when Riis clinched the Tour de France in 1996 with the Telekom team and Strohband added that the deal had been smoothed by Riis finding a new sponsor for CSC to

By Andrew Hood



Photo: AFP (file photo)

One-time Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich is close to signing a new deal with Danish CSC team, his manager Wolfgang Strohband said on Tuesday.”Everything has been discussed and clarified and I am expecting a signature soon,” Strohband told the German news agency SID.The 28-year-old Ullrich, the only German to win the Tour de France when he triumphed in 1997, will again link up with Denmark’s Bjarne Riis.The two rode together when Riis clinched the Tour de France in 1996 with the Telekom team and Strohband added that the deal had been smoothed by Riis finding a new sponsor for CSC to replace Tiscali.Ullrich, a four-time Tour de France runner-up, is still suspended from the sport until March 23, 2003, after testing positive for amphetamines. He admitted taking ecstasy on a night out with friends while recovering in hospital after surgery on a problem knee.The suspension was quickly followed by team sanctions handed out by Telekom team officials. Ullrich finally opted to leave the German team that has been his home since he began as a pro. Both Ullrich and Riis had repeatedly said that they wanted to work out a deal that would put them both in the same camp again.
— Copyright AFP 2002Escartin talks retirement
Spanish veteran Fernando Escartin said he’ll decide this week whether or not he’ll come back for the 2003 season. Escartin, 34, has had an impressive career, winning key mountain stages in the Vuelta and Tour, including an epic stage victory in the 1999 Tour de France to Piau-Engaly in the Pyrenees which secured him a third-place podium spot in Paris. Escartin, known for his hunched-back climbing style, could never time trial very well which hurt his chances in three-week stage races.He joined Team Coast in 2001 but the team has yet to earn an invitation to the Tour. This year he was forced to pull out of the 2002 Vuelta after a crash in the second week. Although he has an offer from Coast for the 2003 season, Escartin told MARCA he’s tiring of life on the road.“It’s harder and harder to be away from my family. It would be a shame to leave cycling because I still feel competitive, but now I have been home a month with my son and it’s going to be very hard to leave again,” he said.This Sunday he’ll race in the Tres Cantos Criterium in Madrid which is supposed to be an homage to retiring riders Abraham Olano and Melchor Mauri. Now Escartin is thinking it might be a good time for him to walk away.Fuenlabrada axes seven
The Spanish Relax-Fuenlabrada Division II team has cut seven riders for the 2003 season. According to director José María Pérez, the seven include: David Vázquez, Iván Herrero, Sergio Villamil, Jorge Capitán, Pablo Fernández, Martín Garrido and César García Calvo. Calvo, known as the Wild Boar of Bierzo, is somewhat of a surprise considering he won an epic, snowy stage at this year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The team, however, seems to be on a youth movement, and has signed for the 2003 season the following riders: Josep Jufré, from Boavista, and amateurs Héctor Guerra, Luis Pasamontes and José Miguel Elías.Mapei exits on top
Team Mapei is walking away from cycling on a high note. The team won 45 races in its swan-song year, giving it its eighth UCI No. 1 team ranking and its fifth World Cup team ranking. No less than 21 of the 25 riders on Mapei won a race this season. Paolo Bettini, 28, won the World Cup title for the time of his career after Sunday’s Giro di Lombardia. Bettini won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April and finished second at the GP Zurich in August.Cycling’s “Super Team” hit some hard times at this year’s Giro d’Italia when Stefano Garzelli was tested positive for a masking agent, which forced him out of the race after he captured the race leader’s pink jersey. The scandal prompted team sponsors to pull the plug on one of cycling’s most successful teams ever. Remnants of the team staff are re-emerging next season under Quick Step, formerly Mapei’s co-sponsor. Here is a look at the Mapei highlights the team released this week:1993 Team joins the peloton and Stefano Della Santa wins the team’s first race as title sponsor at the Trofeo Melinda.1994 The Spanish co-sponsor Clas joins the team and the team scores 58 wins en route to winning of the UCI’s team classification. Gianluca Bortolami wins the Zurich Championships and the Leeds International to win the World Cup overall title while Tony Rominger wins the Vuelta a España and sets the hour record twice.

1995 Now Mapei-GB, the team wins 81 races and Johan Museeuw wins the Tour of the Flanders, the Zurich Championships and the overall World Cup. Franco Ballerini wins the Paris-Roubaix and Tony Rominger wins the Giro d’Italia and Abraham Olano wins the World Championships in Colombia. The Mapei Sport Service Center in Castellanza (Varese) opens.1996 The team wins 82 races, includ Museeuw’s victories at the Paris-Roubaix, the world title at Lugano and the overall World Cup title. Andrea Tafi wins the Giro di Lombardia and the team wins the team World Cup title and tops the UCI team ranking for a third time.1997 The team wins a record 95 races, including Andrea Tafi’s victory at the Rochester Classic and ends the season No. 1 again.1998 Now Mapei-Bricobi, the team takes 68 victories, including the Tour of Flanders by Johan Museeuw, Ballerini’s second victory at Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Lombardy and the world title by Oscar Camenzind. The team wins both the team World Cup and the UCI team rankings title.1999 Quick Step joins as co-sponsor and the team wins 51 races, including Paris-Roubaix by Andrea Tafi.2000 The team scores 78 wins to bring the total amount of wins to 500. Museeuw wins Paris-Roubaix and Paolo Bettini wins his first Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tafi wins Paris-Tours to score the team another team World Cup title and another UCI team ranking title. The team starts its espoirs program.2001 The team scores 45 wins, including Bettini at the Zurich Championships while Oscar Freire wins the world title for a second time.2002 The team wins 94 races among its elite and GSIII team, including Tafi’s Tour of Flanders and Bettini’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. A positive test by Stefano Garzelli at the Giro prompts sponsors to pull the plug on the team.Zabel ends year on top of UCI rankings
Although he didn’t win the green points jersey at the Tour de France or score a major World Cup victory, German ace Erik Zabel can find some consolation that he ends the 2002 season ranked No. 1 in the UCI rankings released Monday.Four-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong is second while recently crowned World Cup champion Paolo Bettini is third. Other Americans in the top-100 are George Hincapie at 33rd, Tyler Hamilton at 39th and Fred Rodriguez at 77th.Final UCI road standings for 2002
Rank – Name – Team – Age – Points
1.ZABEL Erik TEL GER 32 2269.00
2.ARMSTRONG Lance USP USA 31 2110.00
3.BETTINI Paolo MAP ITA 28 2012.00
4.MCEWEN Robbie LOT AUS 30 1947.00
5.FRIGO Dario TAC ITA 29 1772.00
6.CIPOLLINI Mario ACQ ITA 35 1749.20
8.HERAS HERNANDEZ Roberto USP ESP 28 1455.75
9.REBELLIN Davide GST ITA 31 1452.00
10. BARTOLI Michele FAS ITA 32 1417.75
11.CASAGRANDE Francesco FAS ITA 32 1413.00
12.BELOKI DORRONSORO Joseba ONE ESP 29 1298.00
13.DI LUCA Danilo SAE ITA 26 1176.00
14.JALABERT Laurent CST FRA 34 1153.00
15.BOTERO ECHEVERRY Santiago KEL COL 30 1131.40
16.MUSEEUW Johan DFF BEL 37 1109.50
17.BOOGERD Michael RAB NED 30 1076.60
18.ZUELLE Alex COA SUI 34 1043.00
19.VAN PETEGEM Peter LOT BEL 32 1041.00
20.PETACCHI Alessandro FAS ITA 28 1016.75
22.SEVILLA RIBERA Oscar KEL ESP 26 975.40
23.SAVOLDELLI Paolo INA ITA 29 953.00
24.BROCHARD Laurent DEL FRA 34 929.00
25.FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar MAP ESP 26 912.15
27.COOKE Baden FDJ AUS 24 847.00
28.DEKKER Erik RAB NED 32 836.60
29.EVANS Cadel MAP AUS 25 822.00
30.PLANCKAERT Jo COF BEL 32 817.00
31.ASTARLOA Igor SAE ESP 26 787.00
32.BORTOLAMI Gianluca TAC ITA 34 775.00
33.HINCAPIE George USP USA 29 760.75
34.MANCEBO PEREZ Francisco BAN ESP 26 752.75
35.BODROGI Laszlo MAP HUN 26 751.75
36.POLLACK Olaf GST GER 29 750.00
37.ARVESEN Kurt-Asle EDS NOR 27 744.00
38.MONCOUTIE David COF FRA 27 730.00
39.HAMILTON Tyler CST USA 31 725.00
40.VOSKAMP Bart BBT NED 34 709.50
41.RUMSAS Raimondas LAM LTU 30 706.45
42.OSA EIZAGUIRRE Aitor BAN ESP 29 702.67
43.AERTS Mario LOT BEL 28 701.00
44.PESCHEL Uwe GST GER 34 699.00
45.DUFAUX Laurent ALS SUI 33 693.00
46.BASSO Ivan FAS ITA 25 688.00
47.KIRSIPUU Jaan A2R EST 33 668.00
48.LJUNGQVIST Marcus EDS SWE 28 666.00
50.KIVILEV Andreï COF KAZ 29 649.00
50.SIMONI Gilberto SAE ITA 31 649.00
52.CAMENZIND Oscar PHO SUI 31 643.00
53.PIIL Jakob CST DEN 29 641.00
54.VINOKOUROV Alexandre TEL KAZ 29 639.00
55.GARZELLI Stefano MAP ITA 29 638.00
56.AZEVEDO José ONE POR 29 634.00
57.ESCARTIN COTI Fernando COA ESP 34 621.10
58.HONCHAR Serhiy FAS UKR 32 601.75
59.PIEPOLI Leonardo BAN ITA 31 596.75
60.HASELBACHER René GST AUT 25 588.00
61.NARDELLO Daniele MAP ITA 30 584.00
62.CANCELLARA Fabian MAP SUI 21 579.00
63.IVANOV Serguei FAS RUS 27 577.00
65.BOONEN Tom USP BEL 22 574.75
66.GARCIA CASAS Felix M. BIG ESP 34 572.00
67.CAUCCHIOLI Pietro ALS ITA 27 551.00
68.SACCHI Fabio SAE ITA 28 550.00
69.HALGAND Patrice DEL FRA 28 548.00
69.VIRENQUE Richard DFF FRA 33 548.00
71.FONTANELLI Fabiano MER ITA 37 543.00
73.VASSEUR Cédric COF FRA 32 540.00
74.POPOVYCH Yaroslav LAN UKR 22 537.00
75.KEMNA Rudi BBT NED 35 525.00
76.SERPELLINI Marco LAM ITA 30 521.25
77.RODRIGUEZ Fred DFF USA 29 517.00
78.PELLIZOTTI Franco ALS ITA 24 515.00
79.EDO ALSINA Angel MIL ESP 32 513.00
79.GENTILI Massimiliano ACQ ITA 31 513.00
81.VOIGT Jens C.A GER 31 510.00
82.TONKOV Pavel LAM RUS 33 509.00
83.CELESTINO Mirko SAE ITA 28 508.00
84.CHAVANEL Sylvain BJR FRA 23 504.00
84.RICH Michael GST GER 33 504.00
86.SOSENKA Ondrej CCC CZE 27 502.00
87.TRENTIN Guido COF ITA 27 498.00
88.PETERSEN Jorgen Bo EDS DEN 32 496.00
88.VERBRUGGHE Rik LOT BEL 28 496.00
90.MOLLER Claus Michael MIL DEN 34 492.00
91.MOREAU Christophe C.A FRA 31 490.00
92.MICHAELSEN Lars COA DEN 33 488.00
93.HONDO Danilo TEL GER 28 485.00
94.HUNTER Robert MAP RSA 25 484.00
95.ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar EUS ESP 25 483.00
96.WROLICH Peter GST AUT 28 482.00
97.GARATE Juan Manuel LAM ESP 26 473.00
98.DE JONGH Steven RAB NED 29 470.00
98.STEELS Tom MAP BEL 31 470.00
100. JEKER Fabian MIL SUI 34 466.00