Shorts: Jan, Saunier, Rujano

Ullrich starts Deutschland Tour today aiming to win, Saunier set to lose two more key men, Quick Ste

Ullrich starts Deutschland Tour today aiming to win, Saunier set to lose two more key men, Quick Ste



Jan Ullrich is the main attraction at the start of the Deutschland Tour in Altenburg today. The two summit finishes and long 30km time trial should suit the T-Mobile rider in the latest event in the ProTour series.

Asked about his goals for the race, Ullrich responded: “My ambition is to win all the major stage races on the calendar at least once. But the Tour of Germany is, together with the Giro, one event I’m still looking to win.”

Ullrich was well off the pace when the race was won by compatriot Patrik Sinkewitz in June last year, but believes that this year’s August start should suit him given the form he is in coming out of the Tour de France. Ullrich will be assisted in his challenge for the title by Alexandre Vinokourov, who won this race in 2001.

Among Ullrich’s key rivals in the nine-day race are Gerolsteiner’s Levi Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig, Tour de France King of the Mountains Michael Rasmussen, and last week’s ENECO Tour winner Bobby Julich.

The route:
Stage 1, Altenburg-Plauen, 170km
Stage 2, Pegnitz-Bodenmais, 180km
Stage 3, Bodenmais-Kufstein, 232km
Stage 4, Kufstein-Slden, 175km
Stage 5, Slden-Friedrichshafen, 215km
Stage 6, Friedrichshafen-Singen, 175km
Stage 7, Singen-Feldberg, 173km
Stage 8, Ludwigshafen-Weinheim time trial, 30km
Stage 9, Bad Kreuznach-Bonn, 170km

– San Sebastian Classic winner Tino Zaballa has followed last year’s winner Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero in announcing his decision to leave the Saunier Duval team after taking the Basque Classic. Zaballa has been offered a two-year contract by Illes Balears. Also on his way out of the lightly financed Spanish team is American Chris Horner, who has agreed to join Davitamon-Lotto.


– Venezuelan climbing sensation Jos Rujano, who won the mountains jersey and finished third at the Giro in May, has agreed to join Quick Step next season, but only after he has ridden next year’s Giro in the colours of his current Selle Italia team. Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefvre said that Rujano would honour this commitment to Selle Italia, but would then ride either next year’s Tour or Vuelta for Quick Step.