ULLRICH TO SIGN FOR TINKOFF TEAM?
Has Jan Ullrich finally found a team willing to sign him for 2007?
According to the German press, Ullrich could be negotiating with the Tinkoff squad - currently part of cycling’s European Continental league.
The rider’s agent, Wolfgang Strohband, has already denied all contact between Ullrich and the Russian team. However, should Ullrich finally sign for the squad, reports say the German will be on line for an annual wage of 3.8 million euros. (2.4 million pounds).
Ullrich was sacked from T-Mobile this July after he was implicated in a massive anti-doping operation, codenamed Operacion Puerto, in Spain. This does not appear to be a problem for the Tinkoff squad, which has already signed German Danilo Hondo, and is currently negotiating with American Tyler Hamilton, both riders suspended for doping in the past.
Ullrich, 32, would have little chance of returning to the Tour de France should he sign for this non-ProTour team - backed by Russian millionaire Oleg Tinkoff. The Tour organisers have already made it clear that they will choose the complete line-up of squads for the 2007 race, and it would be highly unlikely that the Tour would want to see Ullrich return to cycling’s top professional event.