Jan Ullrich has two main goals for 2005: to beat Lance Armstrong in the Tour and to have another child with his partner Gaby. Ullrich flew back from South Africa to Europe on New Year's Eve, having covered 2,500 km in the past three weeks, and spoke to Bild about the forthcoming season.
Ullrich's principal aim is to end Lance Armstrong's winning run in the Tour de France, subject to the condition that the American will race it this year. But Ullrich is not worried about acquiring a reputation for never having beaten Armstrong. "That won't bother me later," he said. "But right now I, like many other riders, want to be the one who unseats him!"
On paper the T-Mobile Tour team looks formidable as usual, with the likes of Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov, who have both finished on the podium in the Tour. Ullrich said that if it came down to it, he would have no problem in playing a support role to either of them. "No, the best rider will be supported," he said. "I have no problem with this policy. I already showed that this year. But I know that when I avoid health setbacks, then I can be the strongest"
Speaking of health problems, Ullrich is trying to avoid getting sick this winter, by "staying on longer in South Africa, for example, and not flying home to spend Christmas with the family. My daughter Sarah had a light cold. My partner Gaby still hadn't fully recovered from the lung inflammation she suffered in the Autumn time. So it was better to keep my distance. I know that I am quite susceptible to catching these things quickly."
Ullrich would not be drawn into revealing his weight to Bild, as he said that he hasn't weighed himself in weeks. "I don't spend a lot of time reflecting on what I eat. I just get on with training and eating."
He spoke about the potential addition of another child to his family: "I don't want Sarah to be an only child. Gaby wasn't an only child and neither was I." Finally, he did not discuss any intending marriage plans. "I don't need any marriage certificate," he said. "Spontaneity is a good thing - deciding, at short notice, when the time is right."