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  1. #1
    Senior Member Falchoon's Avatar
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    Ullrich aims to haul in Armstrong

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/...853111767.html

    Germany's Jan Ullrich has thrown down the gauntlet to American Lance Armstrong only days before what could be a crucial showdown on this year's Tour de France.

    Ullrich, the 1997 Tour champion who is making his return to the Tour after a year of difficulties, has surprised his American rival by firing into second place overall to stake his claim for the yellow jersey.

    Armstrong is the four-time consecutive winner but the 31-year-old US Postal rider's bid for the record-equalling fifth win that would make him only the fifth rider to win the race five times is under serious threat from the 29-year-old Bianchi rider.

    Ullrich's 15-sec deficit to Armstrong after Sunday's 14th stage has since grown to just over a minute following Armstrong's dramatic resurgence from a crash to win Monday's third of four Pyrenean stages which helped extend his lead.

    When Ullrich was asked if he thought Armstrong had gained a psychological advantage in winning Monday's incident-packed 15th stage he replied: "I see it the other way around.


    "The onus is on Lance to win the Tour, and therefore the pressure's on him.

    "But I can still win, so for me the dream's still alive - no one could be more motivated than I am."

    Although there remains another day of climbing left, on Wednesday, the yellow jersey may well be won and lost on the penultimate day - where a 49km time trial will pit the German Olympic champion against Armstrong, who has matched Ullrich for time trial wins on the race in recent years.

    But having taken 1min 36sec off Armstrong on last Friday's 47km time trial in Toulouse, Ullrich has a right to be confident.

    And his team are said to be so positive about their chances of victory that they are calculating the bonus seconds that can be won on the final stage on the Champs Elysees.

    "Up until now I'm very happy with everything I've achieved on the race so far," said Ullrich, who two weeks ago said his main reason for riding with his new Bianchi team was to win a stage and prepare for next year.

    "Everything is still possible between now and Paris," he claimed.

    "I can win and I'm totally motivated. I've never felt in better shape than I am now."

    Ullrich's unexpected rise to become a contender for the yellow jersey is largely surprising because of the difficulties he has faced this past year.

    Even before his former team Coast's suspension late in the season after they had failed to pay their riders, Ullrich was in trouble due to positive test for amphetamines from a control taken in June, 2002 while he was out with a knee injury.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

  2. #2
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    I certainly have not discounted Jan. Lance has to be on his toes and consistent from here on out.
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  3. #3
    bac
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    He has every reason to be confident. I, on the other hand, am scared to death! I can't wait until Saturday!!!!!

  4. #4
    Tour DAY France Random's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bac
    He has every reason to be confident. I, on the other hand, am scared to death! I can't wait until Saturday!!!!!
    Exactly how I feel. I would like to see Lance try and gain a few seconds on the flatter stages if he can get away. Doesn’t have to be a big breakaway, because I don’t think that would work. He should just try and get away the last minute or to of the stage.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Piratello's Avatar
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    1:07 min is a lot and I´m not quite sure if Jan is able to do it one more time.
    On the other hand, the situation is like the one in 1989... everything is possible.
    Ullrich also said, that he might even attack on sunday´s tour d´honneur.
    He really wants to know it this year.

  6. #6
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    I seriously don't see Lance losing another time trial by that much time.

    He had one bad TT. He won't have two.
    i may have overreacted

  7. #7
    Senior Member Piratello's Avatar
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    let´s wait and see.
    Armstrong is not superman, he also needs water to boil like everyone else does.
    1:07 is a lot, but it´s no mission impossible.

  8. #8
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    1:07 will be adequate to guaratee 1st as long as he remains in his current form and has no unexpected accidents. Ullrich cannot pull back that much time on flats and a TT unless Lance falters or gets physically handicapped.

    Now if his Bianchi team were a good bit more powerful? Who knows....

    I recognize and admire Ullrich but it won't happen this year without a freak incident of some type. Today was Ullrich's last opportunity to crack Sir. Spinsalot.
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  9. #9
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    Crash or part break could end it all.Anything can and already has happened so its not over till its over.

  10. #10
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    67 seconds is a lot. (or is it 68? What would happen if Ullrich and Lance were tied at the end of the time trial? Does anyone know?).

    Although Lance's excuse making has been larger than life, I think there really was something wrong with him during the last TT. If I had to bet, I'd bet against Jan pulling it off. But he _could_ do it without Lance crashing; I'm certainly going to enjoy watching them sort it out.

    An interesting subplot will be Tyler Hamilton's push for 4th or better.

  11. #11
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    He doesn't need 67 seconds, he only needs 47 as a stage win will give him a 20 second bonus, assuming there are time bonuses on offer for the time trial.
    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  12. #12
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Mark, there are no time bonuses on the time trial stages.

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    if there is still 67 sec btw them, a stage win of 46 sec will do it. There will be a sight to see, sorting the green and yellow in paris.

  14. #14
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    nah, lance will wrap this up on saturday

    he is an extremely hard to beat time trialist (look at his record) and people seem to have forgotten that; all of the sudden, everyone considers ullrich to be the supreme god of ITT. considering lance was super-dehydrated (did you see the white gunk around his mouth?) and lost 13% of his weight that day, ullrich should have beaten him by 15 minutes.

    people change their minds too quickly. most people had crowned ullrich tour winner before lance kicked ass in stage 15, even though lance has been doing this time and time again for years. i mean, it's cool to root for the underdog, but ullrich's hopeless. maybe next year.

  15. #15
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Originally posted by spinner5339
    if there is still 67 sec btw them, a stage win of 46 sec will do it. There will be a sight to see, sorting the green and yellow in paris.
    How does 46 seconds win it for JU?

  16. #16
    bac
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    Originally posted by shrimpx
    everyone considers ullrich to be the supreme god of ITT.
    It's due to his position on the bike!

  17. #17
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    Shrimpx...

    I assume you just got in from your ride, are 'super-dehydrated' and the 13% weight loss has temporarily affected your reasoning.

    "Ullrich's hopeless" ?

    Have a drink and reconsider

  18. #18
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    I didnt know LA cancer spred to his lungs and brain,wow.Interesting to that he's been drug tested more then any other jock.Also that the french mocked him when he won in 99,thinking for some reason he didnt deserve to win.They asked what he was on and he said,I'm on my bike 6 hours a day busting my ass.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Piratello's Avatar
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    on stage 18 Ullrich was 2nd at the 1st sprint.
    1st McEwen
    2nd Ullrich
    3rd Amstrong

    So, Ullrich won 2 seconds and is now 65 secons behind Armstrong.
    celeste - the color of champions !

  20. #20
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    For Jan, it's do or die time. He's coming off a really rough year (DUI bust, knee surgery, auto accident, flunking a substance check). And he's not getting any younger. How old is he?
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
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  21. #21
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    Originally posted by trmcgeehan
    For Jan, it's do or die time. He's coming off a really rough year (DUI bust, knee surgery, auto accident, flunking a substance check). And he's not getting any younger. How old is he?
    He is like 3-4 years younger than lance. I would say that this won't be his last oppurtunity...

  22. #22
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    He's 29... Jan has plenty of time. Armstrong is 32, so he's got a couple of good years still in him...

  23. #23
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    Jan will win another tour before he expires.
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  24. #24
    Go Go Fassa
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    Not before Lance wins his 6th

    Go Lance!

  25. #25
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    I think that Ullrich will win atleast one more.

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