Ullrich "actually optimistic" despite knee problems

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich is still "actually optimistic" that he will be in good form to ride the Tour de France, despite knee problems. In an interview on German television Sunday evening, he said that he is "top motivated", although his training is suffering at the moment.

Last week Ullrich announced that he would not be starting in the Circuit de la Sarthe, where he had expected to open his season. Now even his start in this year's Giro is in question. He plans to test his knee at the Tour de Romandie, he said. "If I can ride there without pain, then maybe I will start on May 6 as planned at the Giro d'Italia."

Meanwhile, he is riding about four hours a day "just rolling, with a low wattage," followed by several hours of physical therapy. He is not concerned that he will lose his basic conditioning that he has been working on since November. "That doesn't go away, even if I couldn't train properly the last four weeks.

"The final reckoning will be in Paris," Ullrich said. "You shouldn't write Ullrich off quite yet."

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