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Tour Diary Watch: the Germans

By:
Tim Maloney, European editor in Strasbourg
Published:
July 03, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 23:19 BST
Edition:
Tour de France News for July 3, 2006
Race:
Tour de France

After having had to suspend two of its riders, including its leader Jan Ullrich, Team T-Mobile isn't...

After having had to suspend two of its riders, including its leader Jan Ullrich, Team T-Mobile isn't going to get depressed and give up - quite the opposite, according to new team captain Andreas Klöden. "I can assure you, we won't let it get us down," he wrote in his Tour de France diary on the team's website. "We are hot for this Tour and we will take our chance to fight for ourselves - and for Jan. We owe that to our loyal fans!" Klöden was pleased with the team's performance in the prologue, especially with Serguei Gonchar's 11th place. "Too bad that it wasn't enough for the yellow jersey. After all the drama of the last few days, that would really have been something!"

CSC's Jens Voigt said he learned the fate of his captain Ivan Basso this way: "We drove out in the cars to look at a piece of Monday's course. Bobby Julich and I sat in one car, suddenly we stopped, and the car with Ivan Basso turned around. We were told that he was returning to the hotel. It was immediately clear to us what that meant." While he still believes in the innocence of not only his captain but of others involved, Voigt added on German sport1, "I stand by my statement: Whoever is guilty, must face the consequences."

The prologue "didn't go so well," he continued. "I don't want to look like a poor loser, but it's not so easy to change everything overnight. I came to France to be a helper for Ivan. It is difficult to flip the switch from being helper to an aggressive rider."

One of the winners of the day was Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang, who led for a long time, finally finishing fourth. But the only thing on his mind was the doping scandal. "As I see it, the sport only really has a future when steps like suspensions and race exclusions are consistently enforced," he wrote on his personal website. "Otherwise we won't be able to end the fight against ignorance of the rules. I know very well, how much we have to be thankful to Jan Ullrich [in terms of popularity of the sport in Germany - ed.] and it is exactly for this reason that I cannot tolerate the whole thing. He was an example and an ideal for me, like for many other young cyclists and fans. I don't want to rule on his guilt, but it is a bad sign that he lied in his statement."

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