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Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

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Though he likes to talk about cycling, he doesn't miss anything from his professional career. "Nope, nope, nothing,” he says. That would be telling in other ways — Armstrong later drew out all the worse insecurities in Ullrich thanks to his seven successive Tour wins; Ullrich never won another Tour after 1997 but made the podium seven times too, finishing runner-up five times, third in 2005, and might have won his debut Tour in 1996 if he wasn’t riding for team leader Bjarne Riis. Definitive performance His breakout performance in the 1997 Tour came on Stage 10, the 252km ride including five mountain peaks to the Arcalis ski resort in Andorra. Ullrich dropped all other rivals and won by more than a minute from Richard Virenque, his soon-to-be Festina notoriety, and with that became the first German to wear the maillot jaune since Klaus-Peter Thaler in the 1978.

Jan Ullrich, a sad and lonesome tale of cycling’s best there Jan Ullrich, a sad and lonesome tale of cycling’s best there

Ullrich admitted that he had lost sight of what helped him feel good, with only a better lifestyle, a new relationship and regular cycling helping him move on from his addiction problems. The long awaited biography of Jan Ullrich by the eloquent and knowledgeable Daniel Friebe does not disappoint. Friebe is one the presenters of the Cycling Podcast and has been working as a journalist in cycling for two decades. As a veteran reporter on the Tour caravan, a polyglot, and an avid speed golf player he turned out to be the best biographer we could have wished for. He moved to Germany, and properly learned German to write this book. Ullrich first returned to the bike some time before at the training camp for millionaires organised by Lance Armstrong, along with George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel on the same island of Mallorca. "I arrived in a situation like Pantani's, almost dead", he confessed to them. Since then, the German has lost weight and looks in great shape. "There was a time when I stopped cycling, but in the last few months I've started training again and it gives me a lot of energy. Sport is my drug and I love cycling," he says.Audible. The problem with this book is that Ulrich is the archetypical one dimensional sportsman. Everyone agrees he’s a nice guy but he has zero personality, no interests, not even cycling, no drive, motivation, curiosity, empathy, self awareness or it appears intelligence. Led from pillar to post, he fell into doping because everyone else was doing it and one can’t help feel sympathy for someone who appears unsuited for almost any adult life, let alone the pressures of professional sport at an extremely turbulent time. He very much comes across as the victim of circumstances and his own inability to cope. Both Ullrich and Armstrong were embroiled in doping scandals in the final years of their careers: and eventually banned and publicly shamed. Ullrich was caught up in the Operation Puerto blood doping investigation in Spain, while Armstrong eventually confessed to doping throughout his career after a USADA investigation and his seven Tour de France victories were wiped from the records books.

Jan Ullrich: The road to redemption – Rouleur Jan Ullrich: The road to redemption – Rouleur

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories. Daniel Friebe, as a host of the Cycling Podcast, is one of the most interesting spoken-word commentators on cycling and this lives up to that. Comparisons are with some of the best cycle sport books:

Lance Armstrong flew to Europe in August of 2018 to try to help Ullrich after he was arrested and then admitted to a psychiatric hospital. From 1st July 2021, VAT will be applicable to those EU countries where VAT is applied to books - this additional charge will be collected by Fed Ex (or the Royal Mail) at the time of delivery. Shipments to the USA & Canada: Of course all of this was played out in the midst of some of the biggest drug infringements in the Tour’s history, to the point that the Tour was no longer functioning as a sporting event. No one who rode in this period escaped suspicion and/or prosecution and history has revealed both Ullrich and Armstrong as drug cheats.

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