After confirming his intentions to ride the Giro d'Italia, Jan Ullrich's preparations for the Tour de France will be raised a notch next week as he begins racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe on April 4. It's a chance for Ullrich to prove his winter training has been solid and he's ready to race leading up to La Grande Boucle.
With Tour rivals such as Ivan Basso and former teammate Alexandre Vinokourov taking wins in Criterium International and Vuelta a Castilla y Leon respectively, Ullrich isn't worried that he hasn't yet got much racing under his belt, with T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig explaining that, "Jan always starts [his racing] late in the season. What counts is that his peak fitness is in July."
Ludwig also said that the four-day tour in west France will be a good opportunity for T-Mobile's number one to gather racing kilometres, but is not expecting big results in the time trial, despite Ullrich's strengths in that discipline.