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July 21, 2006

T-Mobile fax: Jan, you're fired

Eurosport | Ullrich sacked by fax

On his personal website, Jan Ullrich says T-Mobile has fired him (in German | weak Google translation) -- by fax.

T-Mobile manager Olaf Ludwig has confirmed the report. Ullrich says his representatives and the team are to meet next week to discuss an agreement, but if they can't negotiate something, Ullrich says he will sue.

"I am very disappointed about the fact the decision was not communicated to me personally but by T-Mobile's lawyers in a fax ... I think it's a shame that I have given so many years of good service and for all that I have done for the team, that I be seen as just a fax number."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2006 in Doping, Jan Ullrich, Top Stories | Permalink


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Whoa - dude, that's weak. Honestly, the least they could do is tell him in person - and apologize for making him wear that awful pink kit for so long.

I bet they cancelled his phone service, too.

Posted by: Jarrett at Jul 21, 2006 2:17:25 PM

Jan who?

Just kidding. But... can we talk about Floyd some more? Has anyone seen an image or a screen grab of Landis after he got off his bike yesterday?

OLN showed just a few seconds and I've only seen it once but he just looked like the BADDEST dude ever. I think he was ready to switch right over to the TT bike and start Saturday's race NOW!

As for Jan, he seems like the nicest guy imaginable and it's hard to know what to make of all this nonsense. T-Mobile always shows up as a favorite and somehow manages to work against themselves in one way or another.

That's amazing to me.

Also, I'm still sad that Vino was removed from the race, and not by "guilt" but by circumstance. I don't think he would've just sat and watched Landis ride away!

Can you imagine this TDF with Vino in mix?

Posted by: Rex at Jul 21, 2006 4:56:50 PM

I like the way you think Rex. I was pissed about Uhlrich, but I was sad for Vino. Vino v. Floydonator would have been very cool - especially 'mano a mano' on that final descent into Morzine.

But wait, what about the Vuelta? Dammmit, that's right, can't watch that on OLN anymore. And Floyd will be under the knife in August. So we're already looking at 2007 spring classics, Giro, & TdF.

OK, let's think transactions:
**Vino dumps Liberty/Wurth like T-Mobile dumped Jan (like an Igloo cooler full of blood bags over the cliffs of Mont Vontue).
**CSC picks up Vino to replace Basso. Whoa!
**Floyd signs Shaq-like contract with Discovery to help them return to their "Lanceness". Whoa!
**And just for kicks, Cofidis signs Basso, Uhlrich, Richard Virenque, Tyler Hamilton, and couple Spanish riders to become the first team to ever to wear the king-of-the- mountains jersey for the entire season, but never podium higher than second place. They'll also be the first team required to be drug tested at every feeding station. They'll go "pubbing" with David Millar in the off-season and make prank phone calls to Floyd in the middle of the night.
Floyd spends the next three years kicking their asses in every race.

This is good wine.

Posted by: bi riyda at Jul 21, 2006 10:32:27 PM

Good one, bi. :)

Rex, agree on missing Vino, I imagine he would've been up and down as usual, but always entertaining. And yes, Don't F with Floyd face was pretty awesome - also love the way he chilled the hyper press, guess they need a patron too! And moments later, he gives a most tender look to wife Amber, don't they seem a well-matched pair, a couple of real, well-grounded people with fiery spirits.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, I don't know why Floyd would want to go back to Discovery. The styles don't match, and we've seen this Tour just how overwhelming a part of their success was all about Lance. I understand there's an adjustment factor, but come on, T-Mobile and CSC get decapitated one day before the race and managed to both put in great performances, with various guys stepping up. Discovery has a whole year to deal with being decapitated and can't do a fraction of that? I'm not leaving them for dead, but they have some serious rethinking to do, and need a serious influx of new blood (stop it!). The Lance Corps have done amazing things over the previous seven years, and much respect is due, but many are not what they once were. I think George can be again, if someone gives the boy a sandwich or five. But it's not like you can just slip a Floyd into the leader slot and it will all be the same again, some torches have to be passed, and the newer guys have to step up.

If Floyd is indeed looking elsewhere, and Basso is indeed gone for awhile, why not CSC? Great team, and with his very best buddy Dave Z., they could have a lot of fun. Don't know how he and Bjarne would mix, but it's a thought.

Posted by: Julie at Jul 21, 2006 11:58:09 PM

"The first team required to be drug tested at every feeding station" (and "this is good wine") is hilarious!

And, Julie, it's interesting (to me) thinking about how the people pieces might fit together, from team to team. Of course, at the end of the day, it's probably about money. Ack!

I remember reading something about Vino saying, "How do I explain this to my wife - all the costs we're not going to be paid and all the time away from my family." I'd bet it's 50/50 if he rides again - it seems like he's thinking more about a Director role (although that's just conjecture on my part).

Has he committed to the Vuelta?

Basso - a 2 year suspension takes the 2 best years from his career, but he'll probably ride again.

I'd bet Ullrich is done.

Will Floyd ride again? Yikes!

He starts an option year and a hip replacement year. What team will sign him? What team wouldn't sign him? Do you give him a dollar or 10 million?

That one's like Vegas.

And what are the chances of Discovery renewing their sponsorship? I'll bet Bruyneel and everyone else is looking for a job soon. Ugh.

Posted by: Rex at Jul 22, 2006 10:19:17 AM

Rex, I agree on Basso and Ullrich, depending on how damning (or not) the final verdict is.

The hip thing is a big unknown, and we saw how teams shied away from Lance, but I think some teams will be happy to bank on Floyd - tho maybe on a much shorter contract than if he wasn't having the surgery - or have more outs if the surgery doesn't work, that kind of thing. But, for next year, what more publicity could you ask for than The Big Comeback? It sounds harsh, but Johan had it right, whether the results are good or bad, if people are talking about you, there's your publicity. Especially with this kind of thing - a bad result doesn't mean your hearing aids are bad, people are still seeing your brand, and maybe they even like you all the more because you're showing faith and support for a real fighter.

Having no medical knowledge, so maybe it's silly for me to say, but on the face of it, I think Floyd will be back and back strong. Much stronger than he was for most of this Tour. By which I mean, I think Floyd's body was strong, but he was holding back. As it turned out, thank goodness, because he had the reserves to pull out the miracle of Stage 17, but still, he was holding back before that. With a fully-functioning hip, and this year's success under his belt, I think he'll be much more comfortable attacking and being more aggressive. He will have to re-learn riding the bike, though. His body knows how to do it a certain way now, to compensate for the hip, so there will be an adjustment period, but that's why they're talking surgery in August, to give maximum time (not to mention he's damn tired of the pain!).

Discovery could come back with a bang in the Vuelta, Danielson has a good shot at the overall I think. (Although, in honesty, I don't know who all is doing the Vuelta, I'm just going on last year's result and Tom's good form so far this year.) Valverde will be hungry, we'll have to see what guys they can put around him that aren't fried from the Tour. Getting ahead of ourselves, but anyway, point being, Discovery could have a good showing, and it could be a good launch to start touting Danielson for next year's Tour, as a guy on the rise.

Posted by: Julie at Jul 22, 2006 2:16:03 PM

I'm no cycling expert but I'm rapidly getting hooked on the sport, despite being a tad too old to do anything other than watch it from afar. And I'd just like to say this. I watched the stages in the mountains from start to finish. Landis's epic ride would get my vote as the greatest single sustained sporting achievement I've seen. Ever. By anyone. Anywhere. I feel privileged to have seen it. How he did it after the previous day's debacle, and on a dodgy hip, I'll never know. It made me exhausted to watch. This guy will be the worthiest of winners in Paris tomorrow.

Posted by: Noel at Jul 22, 2006 3:08:27 PM

If anyone had any questions why team T-Mobile always seems to implode, even though they have a lot a good riders, just needs to read about how they fired Ullrich. He's been their superstar for years and that's how they end the relationship?

{tsk} [shakes head]

Posted by: Devans00 at Jul 23, 2006 11:40:55 AM

Noel, Landis was good, just a pity you missed Lance ride away from most of those guys like they had their break on in the past. My money was on Hincapi ... did anyone see him? What a poor show from Discovery. It makes one realise what a machine Lance is. Personally, I'd like to see him back in 2007.

I always enjoyed the rivalry between Jan and Lance. I think that always made the tour more interesting. There just seemed to be something missing from this tour ..

Posted by: Brad at Jul 23, 2006 3:08:10 PM

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