Car accident kills Ricardo Ochoa, brother Javier in critical condition ... Riis tries to snag Ulrich

Javier Ochoa (pictured) and twin brother, Ricardo, were hit by a car while riding Feb. 16  Credit: Doug Pensinger/Allsport
Madrid (dpa) Spanish professional cyclist Ricardo Ochoa has been hit by a car and killed while practicing for the next season, radio reports said Feb. 16.

His twin brother Javier sustained injuries in the head, shoulders, ribs and legs and was in critical condition after the accident, which occurred near Cartama 50K west of Malaga on Thursday.

The car hit the two cyclists in rain near a motorway exit. Racing cyclists are largely tolerated on Spanish motorways.

The 26-year-old Otxoa twins belonged to the Kelme team. Javier won the 155K Pyrenees race to Lourdes-Hautacam and was overall 13th in last year's Tour de France. Ricardo, Spanish amateur champion in 1995, began his career with ONCE in 1996.

"Unfortunately, he was neither the first nor the last to die like this," said Manolo Saiz, sports director of the ONCE team.

A cyclist is killed in an accident on average every third day in Spain. Many are sports cyclists in a country where the bike is otherwise not a popular means of transport. The last professional cyclist to be killed was Antonio Martin in 1994.

dpa

Dutch treat? Riis tries to pry Ullrich from Telekom

COPENHAGEN, Feb 16 (AFP) The CSC World Online team would like to try and lure 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich away from the Telekom team for the 2002 season, team director Asger Jensby told the Danish press on Friday.

He said he hoped that team director Bjarne Riis, a former teammate of Ullrich at Telekom, would be contacting the 27-year-old German, who added last year's Olympic road race title to his many triumphs.

Ullrich helped Riis win the 1996 Tour de France, with Riis returning the favour in Ullrich's 1997 victory.

"He would be a fantastic name to add to our roster," Jensby told the B.T. newspaper.

However, Riis, who retired from the saddle last year, cast doubt on the possibility of persuading Ullrich of switching teams despite the fact he is yet to renew his 1.1-million-dollar contract with Telekom for 2002.

"Of course it is a very interesting idea," Riis said.

"However, Ullrich is not a rider that can be won over just like that," added the 36-year-old.

Jensby confirmed that the injury to Laurent Jalabert, CSC World Online's principal rider for the 2001 season who injured his back falling off a ladder this week, would not rule him out of competition.

"Jalabert's injury was annoying, but thankfully there don't seem to be any after-effects," said Jensby.

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