Jan Ullrich has been confirmed to ride the Tour de Suisse as part of his build-up to the Tour de France. Michael Rogers will also use the Swiss stage race, which starts in Baden on June 10, to fine-tune his form ahead of the Tour, which starts on July 1 in Strasbourg.
Ullrich had kept open his pre-Tour race program for as long as possible. In the end, he chose the extra racing days that the TdS provides over the Vuelta a Asturias. "It will be four more race days for Jan and he will benefit from the tough Tour de Suisse parcours to sharpen his form," said the team's manager Olaf Ludwig.
"The fact that I have enjoyed success in this race in the past and that I feel at ease there also influenced my decision," added Ullrich.
Rogers had also originally penciled the Tour of Asturias into his race program. The world time trial champion, who abandoned the Giro d'Italia on stage 13 with severe toothache, has now altered his plans and is set to join Ullrich in Switzerland. Following treatment at the University Clinic Freiburg, Rogers has been given a clean bill of health and is looking forward to the "challenge in the Swiss Alps".
Having opted for the Tour de Suisse, T-Mobile's Tour de France core team have now scratched their plans to scout the Tour's Alpine stages in June. "The visit would have been purely for training purposes, and that is no longer necessary," said Tour D.S. Rudy Pevenage.
Meanwhile, Jan Ullrich will use the time between now and the start of the TdS to do intensive physiotherapy sessions designed to build up his muscle strength. The Swiss race will be the first time he puts in race kilometres alongside Andreas Klöden. "I am really looking forward to that," said Ullrich, who was always confident that the 2004 Tour runner-up would recover from his shoulder injury in time.
Lorenzo Bernucci, Giuseppe Guerini (both Italy), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Sergey Ivanov (Russia), Linus Gerdemann and Patrik Sinkewitz (both Germany) complete T-Mobile's provisional roster at the nine day tour (1468 km) through Switzerland. The final roster will be announced by the middle of next week.