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Ullrich "stronger than last year"

By:
Shane Stokes in Bern
Published:
June 19, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:33 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for June 19, 2006
Race:
Tour de France
Looking good: 2006 Tour de Suisse winner Jan Ullrich

Looking good: 2006 Tour de Suisse winner Jan Ullrich

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Team T-Mobile sports director Rudy Pevenage is extremely happy with Jan Ullrich's performance at the...

Team T-Mobile sports director Rudy Pevenage is extremely happy with Jan Ullrich's performance at the Tour de Suisse, which the German won for the second time after also doing it in 2004. "Tremendously good," was his commentary on the shape of 'Der Kaiser', whom he hopes to see on the highest step on the Champs Elysées in Paris on July 23. "If Jan hadn't encountered these bad conditions, he would have been at least half a minute faster than the rest," Pevenage added, speaking of the torrential rain that came down in Bern for the last stage of the Tour de Suisse on Sunday.

The Belgian sports director believes that Ullrich has completely overcome his form deficit of this spring, which initially came about because of a knee problem. "Yes, I think that he is now on the right track for the Tour," continued a very confident Pevenage. "He's definitely better than in the last two years; much stronger than last year."

The 1997 Tour de France winner shaped up during the Giro d'Italia, where he impressed by scoring his first season victory, his specialty, the time trial. But Ullrich's climbing, which was still on grupetto-level during the Tour of Italy, only improved in recent weeks. "At first, I was unsure of it but then I was happy that he rode the Giro," Pevenage told the Telegraaf. "There, he created the basis for the good form he has now. Two months ago, everybody said that Ivan Basso was the greatest favourite for the Tour. Now, more and more vote for Jan - that gives us confidence."

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