After completing the Tour de Romandie as a season debut - finishing it in 115th position, almost 50 minutes down on overall winner Cadel Evans - Jan Ullrich has overcome the first competition hurdle on his way to the Tour de France. "I'm satisfied that he's made it through," said T-Mobile directeur sportif and personal trainer Rudy Pevenage. "His form is on the rise and he will be continuing at the Giro d'Italia."
Ullrich himself was happy to have finished the race. "It was very hard with that many altitude differences, but it was great training," he said. "That I also finished the hard day does me good and makes me think positive."
Just after passing the finish line on Saturday, the German described the penultimate stage around Sion as "a great breakthrough. This day made me stronger. I'm happy to have made it through. And the best thing about it is that my whole body is in pain, except for my knee."
To Belgian Het Laatste Nieuws, Pevenage admitted that he was nervous about his protégé's success this season. "All we have to do is see to it that he'll be ready for the Tour de France," the Belgian said. "That's where it'll count. But the anxiety that it doesn't work out once again is always there. It gets at me; more than at Jan. I can feel the pressure coming from everywhere. I must remain patient and continue to believe."
Also see: Tour de Romandie final stage full results, report & photos.