By Shane Stokes
Jan Ullrich has confirmed that although he is in good shape and plans to continue racing until the beginning of October, he will stick to his earlier decision not to contest the World Championships in Spain later this month.
The 31 year-old German, who took time trial titles in Verona in 1999 and in Lisbon in 2001, recently showed his solid form with a TT victory and second place overall in the Deutschland Tour, plus a win in the Eurobike Altstadtkriterium Ravensburg criterium. He placed third in the Tour de France earlier in the summer.
However, despite these good results, he told Cyclingnews in recent days that his remaining career goals are oriented towards winning gold in the road race rather than chasing a third victory in the TT championships.
"I would prefer not to go and have to do all the preparations for Madrid," Ullrich said. "The thing is, if I prepare for the World's, I prepare for the road race. I have twice been World Champion in the time trial, so now the road race is my focus."
He feels that the 2005 World's are not conducive to achieving this goal. "The problem is that in Madrid, the course is flat. The profile is too easy for me to become world champion there. I don't want to put all that extra training and extra effort in there when it doesn't make that much sense."
The German is not about to hang up his racing wheels, however. "I think my last race this year will be on the second of October in Zurich," he stated. Before then, he will lead the T-Mobile team in the 15th edition of the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt criterium on Sunday. The 1998 winner will be supported by Sergey Yakovlev, Torsten Hiekmann, Christian Werner, Olaf Pollack and stagiaire Robert Bengsch.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ullrich said that his motivation at 31 is higher than it was earlier in his career. "I think that even more so than before, I have better motivation than in the early days," he explained. "As I have said in the past, I don't have to ride for the money. I do it because I love to be a racing cyclist. I love riding my bike."
Watch out for a full interview with Jan Ullrich, coming soon to Cyclingnews.