By Susan Westemeyer
There are going to be some big changes in the Team T-Mobile management - according to German tabloid BILD. The BILD am Sonntag is today reporting that Rudy Pevenage is returning to the team "immediately" as Director Sportif. Pevenage was previously DS for Team Telekom, but left the team to join Jan Ullrich at Team Coast in 2003. When Ullrich rejoined T-Mobile, Pevenage was not welcomed back by team manager Walter Godefroot, and Pevenage has since been Ullrich's personal advisor.
Godefroot is retiring at the end of this season, and has selected former team spokesman Olaf Ludwig as his successor. According to BILD, Ludwig and Mario Kummer, "who becomes co-ordinator in the team management", want to "put together a pure Ullrich team for the Tour de France. All power to Jan! Just like Armstrong did at Discovery Channel and US Postal. Ullrich will be more involved in the planning. As captain he is, along with the others, responsible for the joint training camp and preparations."
"We are in the process of restructuring the team and Olaf Ludwig, the new team manager, has a very clear vision," T-Mobile's press officer Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews. "In the next couple of days we will finalize those changes, and afterwards those structures will be communicated."
Rudy Pevenage did not deny the story, telling the dpa, "There have been discussions about this, and in the coming weeks there will be more discussion about my future activities." He added, "If it happens, then it would be the best for Jan. All this in-fighting has bothered him. To win the Tour again, he needs quiet and a team that stands 100 percent behind him."
In addition, Pevenage also announced that Ullrich, who had planned to ride the Meisterschaft von Zürich, has decided to end his season now. "Jan wouldn't have had any chance anyway against the riders who come fresh from the Vuelta and the World's. So there's no point in him forcing himself to train right now." He also said that Ullrich would probably start earlier with his training for the next season.