The Week That Was...

News & Results

10/17/2005| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Jan Ullrich. Photo copyright Tommy Murphy/
Jan Ullrich. Photo copyright Tommy Murphy/

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

According to an interview last week, German Jan Ullrich and his T-Mobile team are considering sending the former Tour de France champion to the Giro d?Italia in order to prepare for next year?s race around France.  New T-Mobile Director, Rudy Pevenage, said to BILD magazine that "It?s an option.  Basso rode the Giro this year and then was second in the Tour."  Some might also argue that Basso is far more grounded and committed to achieving his goals within professional cycling than others.  Still...

Ullrich?s former teammate, Erik Zabel, is currently finalising his contract with the new Milram Team.  Gerry van Gerwen, the Dutch manager of the team said that Zabel would ?meet Gianluigi Stanga in Bergamo? to sort out the last details of his contract."  Speaking with DPA, the Dutchman went on to add that the management foresaw no apparent problems between Zabel and the teams other sprinter, Italian fast-man, Alessandro Petacchi.  "I've known both of them for a long time; there won't be any problems. If you sum up the qualities of both, it makes us three times stronger.?

Team Milram will be officially launched on 10th January next year.

As one team continues to take shape, the cycling world was shocked during the week when up to fifty members of staff including riders, management and other back-room staff were left looking for a new employer.  After assembling a first class roster of riders, Giancarlo Ferretti?s proposed Sony-Ericsson was halted before it even got off the ground as the multimedia giant announced that it was not sponsoring the team.

Het Laatste Nieuws broke the news in Belgium, reporting that Ferretti had in fact been dealing with an agent who was not actually employed by the company.  Of the fifty members of staff already signed to work for the team, many are now faced with the very real possibility that they may not be able to find a place in the professional sport next year.

Making the announcement on their website, Sony-Ericsson released a short statement.  "There have been a number of press reports across Europe speculating that Sony Ericsson will sponsor a cycling team. Sony Ericsson can confirm that these reports are not true and we have no intention to be involved in sponsoring such a team."

Some of the riders now left searching for a new contract include Gilberto Simoni, Stuart O'Grady, Matt White and Salvatore Commesso.

Following the ongoing doping allegations published in French daily, L?Equipe, the newspaper last week published an exclusive interview with Belgian great, Eddy Merckx.

"For more than 30 years, doping has been the black sheep of cycling for the whole of the media.  Since Simpson died on the Mont Ventoux in 1967, cycling has been linked to doping, being a headliner in the papers.  Nowadays even more so because society is more moralistic, less permissive.?

"But the phenomenon of doping is of economical nature. Many affairs are oriented, the media get their public, the laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry are making profits with it and publicity. Doping pays, and that's an important factor. Those who invest in doping control machines want their cash to be returned, their business to be profitable."

Merckx went on to add that as WADA policies currently stand, he was not entirely behind them.  "Doping should be redefined to know where it starts, and where it ends. In Belgium, a particular product is considered curative treatment for soccer players, but doping for cyclists. It's always double standard. I've always believed in the fight against doping, but I've never been in favour of 'zero tolerance', and never will be. It's not realistic and it's not compatible with the high level sport."

Perhaps if more riders, current and former, had the resolve and strength to stand up and demand a review of current policies and practices, we might one day find a sport free of drugs.

As always, keep in touch with your thoughts and opinions.  Send them to me at and discuss in our forums.


Until next week,




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