July 25, 2006
Ullrich AND Basso negotiating with Discovery?
Eurosport reports that Jan Ullrich is in discussions with Discovery Channel, as both seek to return to the top step at the Tour de France.
In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick (in German), Ullrich said he and Discovery have had contact but have no agreement.
"I have always said I will finish with a Tour victory," said Ullrich, winner in only his second Tour de France, in 1997. "Unfortunately, this year I was prevented from doing so. That's why I will try to add another year."
In a throw-in paragraph at the end, they note: “Basso is another rider recently tipped with a move to Discovery Channel, along with 2006 winner Floyd Landis and Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer.”
My sense is that even if there had been feeling-out talks between Discovery and Ullrich in the past, by now Jan is too much in the way of tainted goods (especially with his continued refusal to submit to a simple test which would prove that none of the blood found by the Operacion Puerto investigators is in fact his, were such in fact the case) for Discovery to consider signing. (Even aside from the fact that the big signing appears to be Leipheimer, which would seem to put the final nail in the Basso-or-Ullrich-to-disco coffin).
Sad to see such a promising career end in scandal and disrepute, but ironically it seems Jan will be correct when he talks about how he wants to end his career, just in a way he probably didn't intend - he will finish his career just as he says, with *a* Tour de France victory.
Posted by: ewmayer at Jul 25, 2006 1:57:55 PM
What a crazy idea.
Posted by: Jason O'Connell at Jul 25, 2006 4:04:03 PM
Anyone think Jan will sign with Vino's team? The comments from Vino at the start of this tour seemed to indicate this was his last shot at it and that he wanted to focus more on running the "Kazakh" team.
Posted by: Mark at Jul 25, 2006 6:59:08 PM
No way Jan goes to Vino's team. They can't coexist on the same team in competition for a single prize.
And no way Jan/Basso come to Disco. That's too many "patrons" for a director to manage. That would make a total of at least 4 guys on the team as possible TDF contenders and nobody to shag water for the real patron.
Posted by: Brian at Jul 26, 2006 12:16:43 AM
I agree. Discovery are used to riding for ONE rider only. Even the idea of having BOTH Jan and Ivan on the same team is stupid - they have to stay competitive against eachother.
But one of them could sign with Discovery. Ullrich is the most likely as Riis will do much to keep his baby Ivan on CSC.
Posted by: Mads at Jul 26, 2006 4:17:28 AM
Neither of these guys ends up at Discovery...it's just the press trying to run with tidbits of information that don't add up.
Posted by: bark at Jul 26, 2006 9:24:29 AM
I don't think T-Mobile will let Ullrich off the hook, no matter what team he attempts to sign with. T-Mobile lost a contender in the Tour due to alleged illegal activity and are not going to forget that or let their loss be another team's potential gain. I see lawyers, I see France, I see Ullrich with no last chance...
Posted by: Jill at Jul 26, 2006 11:45:51 AM
BASSO or Ullrich to Discovery? Don't think so. Basso will stay with Riis at CSC, and Jan will go and ride for a Bianchi Team, perhaps Liquigas? Hmmm, curious to see how this plays out. Levi going to Discovery was surprising, but money moves anyone. Landis stays with I-shares 1 year? Ok, the shake up has begun. Another exciting year to follow, GO USA!
Posted by: JET at Jul 26, 2006 11:56:53 AM
Speaking of shake-ups, how about Andreu being fired by Toyota-United? Is Lance pulling strings somewhere? I mean, they're having a pretty successful first season, wouldn't seem the time to fire the DS, but I don't know if there are other factors. (Other than the Lance thing, that is.)
Posted by: Julie at Jul 26, 2006 3:08:08 PM
I don't think the journalists who write these things know a whole lot about cycling and its tactics.
Discovery showed how well you do at a race when you start the race with 4 captains in the team. Nobody really thought that would work out well, and.... it didn't!
DSC just need to get one strong leader - it's what the riders in the team are used to (and unfortunately for them, I don't think Leipheimer is the type needed but I guess they will try it for next season.)
We will know the outcome of the Operasion Puerto in a month. If Basso is cleared, he is staying with CSC - that he has stated clearly in the Italian and Danish media. Ulle --- I don't know. Do you really think he would want to ride for Lance's old team? And, do you think Lance's old team mates would like to ride for him???
Posted by: Helene, Oslo, Norway at Aug 2, 2006 8:18:18 PM