Shorts: Ullrich, Nuyens, Astana, Davitamon
A loved-up Jan Ullrich announces he is to marry, Quick Step confirm the departure of one of their bi
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Jan Ullrich has told the German daily Bild that his girlfriend Sara Steinhauser has agreed to marry him. Bild reports that the news has lifted the German’s spirits prior to his latest attempt on the Tour. “I am very happy she has agreed to get married to me, she is the most fantastic women in the world, I am madly in love,” gushed Ullrich, who added that he planned “to spend the rest of his life” with Sara, the sister of former T-Mobile team-mate Tobias. Ullrich split from Gaby, with whom he has a three-year-old daughter, in May 2005.
– Quick Step boss Patrick Lefvre is expected to move quickly into the transfer market after his team confirmed that Nick Nuyens is set to leave them at the end of the season. For some time linked with Davitamon-Lotto, the Belgian rider has in fact agreed a deal with Cofidis covering the next two seasons.
“We are sorry to lose Nick,” Lefvre commented. “I have known him for years and seen him develop into the athlete he is today. Objectively, it wasn’t possible for Nick to refuse such an important offer though. I wish him all the very best.”
Nuyens said of his move: “This has been a difficult decision to make. An important chapter in my career will conclude at the end of this year. I’ll be leaving a team full of friends, not only amongst the athletes but also the non-riding staff, a group of fantastic professionals. I owe an awful lot to this team but sometimes in one’s career difficult decisions have to be made. I hope to have a long career, a career where our paths will cross once again.”
– Doubts over the Astana-Wrth’s team participation in the Tour de France have been eased with the announcement by the ProTour’s licensing commission that the team’s application to succeed Liberty Seguros has been approved. However, the commission said it would reserve the right “to intervene at any moment if new information comes to light”, referring to the ongoing blood doping investigation in Spain that resulted in the arrest last month of Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz.
– There are no surprises in the Davitamon-Lotto team for the Tour de France. Australia provides the lead in the shape of Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans, with support duties provided by Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Gert Steegmans, Wim Vansevenant, Johan Vansummeren (all Bel), Chris Horner and Fred Rodriguez (both USA).