Tour pick: Ullrich
"I believe that Jan Ullrich can win the Tour again. Yes, this year. And I think that as compared to Ivan Basso, he has the necessary mental strength to win it. " Udo Bölts is not one to mince his words, and there is no question for him as to who is favored to win the Tour de France this year. After 11 years of riding for Team Telekom, he finished his active career with a year at Team Gerolsteiner, where he is now in his third year as a directeur sportif. Susan Westemeyer got caught up to date on his thoughts in a recent phone interview.
Cyclingnews: One of the reasons you became a directeur sportif was so that you could spend more time with your family. Has it worked out as you had hoped, or are you still away from home a lot?
Udo Bölts: After my racing career I obviously had to do something. I didn't want to just fall in a hole and I wanted to stay in touch with cycling. I was lucky enough to get an offer from Hans-Michael Holczer to become a DS but limited to only 50 to 60 days on the road. That allows me to spend more time at home with my children, Helena, 8, and Jan, almost 6. I am very happy with the way it is working out.
CN: How long do you think you will work as a DS? What else can you imagine yourself doing professionally?
UB: I hope to remain a DS for as long as the team exists. What else I might do, I really don't know right now. That is hard to answer. I trained in a profession before I turned pro, but I could never go back to that. Sometimes something new comes along that you just have to go along with.
Click here for the full interview