Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jan Ullrich: Not Very Sporting

Cyclingnews.com ran a story about Jan Ullrich's preparations for next year's Tour de France. Aside from the usual same-every-off-season fluff, this quote from Ullrich struck me as very telling: "I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there will be no team time trial."

While CSC would have been the TTT favorite, T-Mobile should have had a good chance as well. They were third last year behind Discovery Channel and CSC, and they just added Michael Rogers and Sergey Gontchar, both World TT champions, to their team (granted, they lost Alexander Vinokourov). For Ullrich to be relieved tells me he doesn't have the guts or confidence to win that event, and with that mindset, he's not going to win the Tour.

A true champion has a "take all comers" attitude and does not fear a challenge. You never would have heard a statement like that from Lance Armstrong. In Ullrich's shoes, Armstrong would have said something like, "It's a shame we won't get another shot at the team time trial this year."

I think it's Ivan Basso's Tour to win or lose next year. Perhaps another rider will emerge to fight him, but I doubt it will be Ullrich.

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