Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Big Jan and the TdF

Something I stumbled across -


Associated Press
July 11, 2007

Jan Ullrich criticized former teammates Rolf Aldag and Erik Zabel for "acting like saints" once they had admitting their doping past.

Ullrich, who won the Tour de France in 1997, was one of several riders kicked out on the eve of last year's race after being implicated in a Spanish doping investigation. A sample of Ullrich's DNA was later matched to one of the blood bags in the doping affair. Several former riders of Team Telekom, including Zabel and Aldag, recently admitted they used erythropoietin in the 1990s while riding with Ullrich, who has retired and denies any wrongdoing.

"To carry on working, they need to confess their error," Ullrich said in an interview with L'Équipe, the French daily. "It makes me laugh, because I know they spoke about my case while acting like saints."

Ullrich was particularly angry over Aldag.

"When I heard Aldag talking non-stop about me on radio or on television, I was really outraged by his attitude," Ullrich said. "He made a lot of money because of me. If he found it so dirty, why did he never give it back?"

The former Olympic champion says he just wants to be left alone. "I've nothing to say, my career is over." he said.

Ouch.

The emphasis is mine. Its an unfair unfair world.

Vino is riding with 60 stitches in his knees and elbow, and most people have written him off. Kloden ought to replace him as the team leader for Astana (if logic prevails), but then I dont think he will. When Vino rode with the T-Mobile team for Ullrich with Kloden, he was always a bit of a loose gun, especially in 2005. When there was bitterness in the German team, Vino was alone and understandably, Kloden was with Ullrich. Its a Kazakh team now (along with a Russian or two), people Vino rode with in his youth - for Kazakhistan and the USSR - and Kloden is the outsider. He is way ahead of Vino in the general classification, and surely surely with 60 stitches Vino cant now claw back eight and a half minutes over the yellow jersey in the Pyranese and the two big individual time trials ! and yet all his teammates are faithfully clustered around him while Kloden rides a lonely race. Kloden fractured his tail bone too on a crash on the same day mind you, but he seems to be in good form all the same, seems quite comfortable on his bike. Vino was with the race doctor during the flat 10th stage to Marseilles today, getting the dressing on his wounds changed while still on the bike, hanging precariously on to the doctors car, his leg off the pedal, in tremendous pain. He ended yesterdays big Alpine stage in tears of exhaustion and disappointment.

"I couldn't even feel my muscles," he said. "But the worst thing was to be left behind while there were still 60 guys in front of me... It was a humiliation. I have never liked showing that I was suffering, but there I just couldn't do anything else."

Tough guy. Proud man. 60 stitches.

Logic and Limits go flying out the window.

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