Finishing in 30th place on the fifth stage time trial at the Volta a Catalunya on Friday, a shade under three minutes off the winning time set by Iñigo Cuesta (Saunier Duval-Prodir), T-Mobile Team captain Jan Ullrich said afterwards that "today was actually the perfect training ride for me".
Enjoying fond memories of this corner of the Pyrenées, where he took the maillot jaune for the first time in his career on the climb to Arcalís at the '97 Tour de France, 'Der Jan' said about the stage, "It is of course always nice to come back here.
However, not being in the same shape he was eight years ago, Ullrich unsurprisingly said about his performance on Friday: "That was a tough ride today. It hurt."
The 31 year-old powerhouse German was also testing a new time trial bike made by his team's bike sponsor, Giant, and declared his satisfaction with his new rig: ""It felt very good. I have a good impression of this bike."
On the sixth stage yesterday, Ullrich finished with the main group of riders in 31st place, and with the race concluding today in Barcelona, he should finish in the top 20 without any difficulty.