'Kaiser' Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) is all set to win the upcoming Deutschland Tour (August 15-23). The Tour de France 2005 third-placed feels very motivated for the nine-day ProTour stage race and "hopes for good legs," as he is clearly aiming for victory.
"We will miss Andreas Klöden," Ullrich said when asked if he thought he would get enough team support to achieve his aim. "But we've shown at the Tour how strong our team is by winning the Team Classification. Vinokourov will be there to support me - he's a true professional and as long as he rides in our team's colours, he will be giving everything for it."
This year's Deutschland Tour has been hailed by many as a race very much suited to climbers, as its parcours crosses the Alpine border to Austria to include some (very) high mountains in it. The Rettenbachferner with its 2,665 metres of altitude will be the highest mountain climbed by the European professional peloton this season.
"The nine stages are really something," Ullrich commented. "When I studied the parcours I thought a ski expert must have had his say... There's hardly a ski resort we won't ride to! It'll start right away on the first stage through the Voigtland region. Some years ago, those steep climbs shattered Bjarne Riis' hopes at the Peace race. One day later, we pass the German cross country skiing centre in the Bavarian forest, located at 1,100 metres. And the heaviest stage is the one to the Rettenbachferner on 2,665 metres. I know the region: You can do some really nice skiing there, but downhill! To go up there on your bike is going to be one hell of a ride. If you're not in front that day, you can forget about the podium. And afterwards, there's still the Black forest with the mountain finish on the Feldberg (1,270 m) - I can already feel the sweat running down my neck..."