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Monday, 6 January, 2003, 12:54 GMT
Riis rules out Ullrich swoop
Jan Ullrich
Ullrich's cycling future remains a blur

Jan Ullrich's proposed move to CSC is off, team boss Bjarne Riis has revealed.

The 1997 Tour de France winner had looked set to join the Danish team at the end of October.

But on Monday, Riis, a former team-mate of Ullrich's, revealed the German's excessive wage demands had wrecked the deal.

Riis told BBC Sport Online: "I don't really know what's happened but I'm not spending any more time working on bringing Jan to our team.

I'm frustrated because we put half a year into trying to bring him to the team

Bjarne Riis

"The last one or two days have proved fruitless and I realise it's time for me to stop this.

"I was confident of bringing him to the team. We had a guarantee that he would join the team and we felt we had offered him the right money. But sadly it didn't happen."

CSC are thought to have offered Ullrich 1m to ride for one season but were unable to table an extended deal due to a lack of sponsorship past the end of 2003.

Team Coast's subsequent offer of a reported 4.5m over three years is believed to have forced CSC to pull out of negotiations. Team Phonak have since entered the bidding.

Ullrich's career had been in disarray prior to talks with CSC.

Ullrich in 2002
Jan: Damages knee
Apr: Misses Giro d'Italia with knee injury
June: Found guilty of drink driving
July: Banned after failing drugs test
Aug: Threatens to quit cycling altogether
Oct: Primed for switch to CSC

The former Tour winner was found guilty of drink-driving in June and was later banned for six months after testing positive for amphetamines.

But Riis, who had been keen to team up with the rider who helped him to his own Tour win in 1996, refused to be bitter about his wasted efforts.

The Dane said: "I'm not angry about it, I'm just disappointed and frustrated because we have put half a year into trying to bring him to the team."

CSC will not bring in another big-name leader to fill the void left by Ullrich's failed move.

Riis added: "We'll be keeping the team as it is, although we may bring in one or two new faces.

"We're already stronger than last year and are a team that should be well set for the classics and have good riders like Tyler Hamilton and Carlos Sastre to battle it out in the bigger tours."

See also:

20 Dec 02 | Cycling
29 Nov 02 | Cycling
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