Kaiser Watch: "It wasn't the crash"

Jan Ullrich is demoralised from yesterday's stage one, where he lost 1 minute and six seconds on his biggest rival, Lance Armstrong. Although that time might not be an enormous setback as such since the Tour is still three weeks long, Armstrong's demonstration of power is above all a mental blow for the German. What's more, the 31 year-old can't put his finger on what went wrong. "My goal was to start off in the Tour with a good performance," he said. "I rode flat out [in the time trial] and didn't feel that bad. But to be passed by Armstrong on the first stage is of course not a nice feeling!

"I can't tell what was the reason for it. Maybe it does have something to do with the crash - I did lose dome blood. But I actually don't believe that."

Rudy Pevenage, his personal trainer, also doesn't have an explanation. "Armstrong and the others all rode under the same [meteorological] conditions - that's not an excuse."

Ullrich had to bury his hopes of putting time into Armstrong in the most terrible way - by being passed by the American. "The parcours suited me because it needed pure power. I already imagined myself ahead of Armstrong on GC before going into the mountains. I did feel pretty good, that's why I was optimistic. But Lance, of course, rode an excellent race and came in right behind the winner - I do feel a little demoralised. Anyway, the Tour lasts three weeks and I'll continue to fight."

Meanwhile, Ullrich's cut on the neck resulting from smashing the rear window of his team car without a helmet on is healing well. The German also did not complain about neck or back stiffness - he was very lucky as the glass cut his skin just millimetres away from his jugular.

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