Sevilla decides to ride for Jan

After Phonak stalled on new contract talks, Oscar Sevilla has opted to take up an offer to ride for

After Phonak stalled on new contract talks, Oscar Sevilla has opted to take up an offer to ride for
PICTURE BY LAVUELTA.COM After just one season with Phonak, Spanish climber Oscar Sevilla has opted to join T-Mobile for the next two seasons. The deal comes as something of a surprise because Sevilla had been discussing an extension of his contract with Phonak. However, it appears that Phonak team manager Urs Freuler has been less than impressed by Sevilla's lacklustre performance at the Vuelta, and did not respond to a request by Sevilla's manager to have the new contract signed and sealed by last Thursday. When that deadline passed, Sevilla opted to take up T-Mobile's offer. At T-Mobile Sevilla will fulfil much the same role he has had at Phonak of being one of the key supports to the team leader in the mountains. The switch in teams means that the 27-year-old will be swapping service for Tyler Hamilton for a role in support of Jan Ulllrich at next year's Tour. T-Mobile are also likely to appoint Sevilla as their team leader for next year's Vuelta. The German team has been linked with Sevilla in the past, and was keen to sign him after he won the Tour's best young rider title in 2001 and followed that up by finishing second in the Vuelta, only losing the overall prize on the very last day to Angel Casero. Reports in Spain suggest that Ullrich himself was keen for the deal to go through, and has called Sevilla at the Vuelta to urge the Spaniard to join him. Meanwhile, the mystery of the illness that struck T-Mobile during the Vuelta's first week stop in Zaragoza has deepened with the news that the dodgy rice pudding that was thought to be behind the vomiting and stomach cramps suffered by six of the team's riders has been cleared of responsibility following tests. Three T-Mobile riders were forced to quit the Vuelta the next day due to illness, a fourth joining them a day later. The Zaragoza management of the hotel where the team was staying sent the results of the tests to T-Mobile, and have told AS they have received a letter from the German team absolving them of all responsibility for the outbreak of sickness. However, T-Mobile's team on the race deny any knowledge of such a letter or having received the test results.

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