Tales from the Peloton, August 10, 2005
After cruising the mean streets of Sandpoint, Idaho, Elden Nelson brings us a tribute of sorts to Jan Ullrich's 2005 Tour de France performance in the words of the people - "You've gotta feel sorry for the guy."
August 10, 2005 (Sandpoint, Idaho, USA) - Rick Sunderlage, a midpack-level mountain bike racer, announced today that he feels sorry for Jan Ullrich.
"Can you believe that poor sap's luck?" Sunderlage asked rhetorically about the Tour de France champion and six-time podium finisher. "He must cry himself to sleep every night, wishing Armstrong had never got back into the game."
Continued Sunderlage - whose personal best at a race was ninth in his age group (23rd overall) in a regional mountain bike race - about the former German National Champion and Vuelta Espana winner: "I wonder why he even bothers trying."
"Look, I'm not saying Ullrich's a bad rider, per se," gasped Sunderlage as he shifted into the lowest gear on his mountain bike. "Just that he never reached his potential as a racer because he doesn't have the discipline." Dismounting to push his bike up the rest of the hill, Sunderlage went on: "Have you ever seen how he packs on the weight during the off-season?"
Reached for reaction to Sunderlage's bombshell announcement, Tour de Suisse winner Jan Ullrich said, "I am of course very saddened to know that in spite of my best efforts, I have not been able to earn Rick Sunderlage's respect, and stricken by the knowledge that I have his pity. His approval means everything to me. I swear to you now: Rick Sunderlage, I will do whatever it takes to be the racer you think I should be."
Upon hearing of Ullrich's pledge, Sunderlage responded, "Yeah, I guess that's cool. But I'm still rooting for Basso in next year's Tour."
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