Although he lost some time to Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso, yesterday was the first day in this year's Tour that Jan Ullrich showed something approaching his top form. His physiotherapist Birgit Krohme confirmed that the German's fitness is improving, saying that she could feel a difference in his muscles after yesterday's race to Ax 3 Domaines.
"A mountain stage is of course much harder on the whole body than a flat one is. And not only on the leg muscles. My therapy therefore is longer on mountain stages, and includes the back, the spine, and the neck area to a much greater extent. On mountain stages, the muscles are harder and you adapt the massage accordingly. You don't massage with a lot of pressure."
"When Jan has bad lags, you feel it after a stage. The muscles are then much tenser and they have irregular, harder areas. But when he's got good legs it is different; then, the legs show a regular, lower tension. That's what it felt like yesterday. So if that'll be the case again tonight, still getting better towards the end, then we'll be very satisfied."