Having completed the first round of post-Tour criteriums, T-Mobile leader Jan Ullrich has now switched his focus on the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany), which runs from August 15-23. "I am preparing intensively in Switzerland for this race; I still have my good form from the Tour and hope to maintain it between now and the Deutschland Tour. It is a very important race, both for me and for the team," said Ullrich on t-mobile-team.com.
"The Deutschland Tour will be really tough this year," he added. "The mountain stages look really demanding - the climb to Sölden is even steeper than the Galibier. That will be a hard test."
Before that, Ullrich will ride one more criterium at the TEAG Hainleite on August 13 in eastern Germany, and will also ride in a farewell race to former team-mate Jens Heppner the day after the finish of the Deutschland Tour on August 24. Round two of Ullrich's post-Tour criterium schedule starts on August 27 in Essen, followed by another criterium in Ravensburg six days later.
Finally, Der Jan is still undecided as to his participation at the World's in Madrid. "I am not looking that far ahead. I am taking things step-by-step and I will consider my options after the Deutschland-Tour," he said.
In other news, Dutchman Bram Schmitz rode a very good prologue to finish eighth on the first day of the Eneco Tour of Benelux, just three seconds off the winning time set by Rik Verbrugghe. "It was a solid ride from him, but somehow I was expecting Bram to do well," said directeur-sportif Frans van Looy. "He has come to this race very motivated."