By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
Former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich said Thursday he has already received several job offers, just a day after announcing that he was leaving the Telekom team after seven years.
Ullrich said he is now considering several offers and is certain to make a decision within two weeks. Both the Danish CSC team of Bjarne Riis and German team Coast have publicly confirmed interest in signing the 28-year-old world time-trial champion and Olympic road race titleholder.
“I have not yet decided,” said the East German-born rider, who won the 1997 Tour de France and has finished second in four others.
“I have had more than those two offers and I will decide without any doubt in two weeks,” he added. Former Telekom team captain Riis, who won the 1996 Tour de France thanks in large part to the support of his then teammate Ullrich, wants to hire his former sidekick, but has first to find a new sponsor after the departure of CSC’s second title sponsor, the Italian Internet and telecom firm Tiscali.
“We want him (Ullrich) and are in negotiations. But while nothing is concluded 100 percent with the new sponsor I can’t make a contract,” admitted Riis. Meanwhile Essen, Germany’s Coast team has also made its interest known and team representatives have contacted the rider’s manager Wolfgang Stroband. “It’s no secret that we’re interested in Jan”, said Coast director Marcel Wüst.
Telekom team managers said they were sorry to see four-time Tour de France runner-up go but understood that he wanted a new start despite seven successful years with them.
The German has had a miserable year – including two knee operations -which culminated in him being suspended for six months on July 23 after he tested positive for amphetamines.
Telekom had also frozen his wages since the ban although they had been making overtures to him about renewing his contract when the current one finished at the end of this year. “Jan came to the conclusion that he wanted to make a fresh start,” said Stroband.