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Ullrich visited Italy for training on Monte Serra

Ullrich in 2005

Ullrich in 2005 (Image credit: John Pierce)

Earlier in the week it was noted that Jan Ullrich was spending his time training between Austria and Italy, in fact was riding in Toscana. The 33 year-old German had escaped the pressures of his home country to come to Italy, where he reportedly owns in a house in the hills of Massarosa, in the province of Lucca.

Ullrich's spokesman Michael Lang told Cyclingnews that he currently is not in Italy but, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, he was training on the famed testing grounds of Monte Serra, a climb located nearby his home and used by many professionals to test their legs. In the same area lives doctor and trainer (or preparatore) Luigi Cecchini, who Ullrich, through all the controversy of Operación Puerto, still confides in.

In Germany his image has been dragged through the mud due to his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto. A formal disciplinary hearing has yet to start for the 1997 Tour de France winner but there is one small group of supporters who are ready to see a decision made, particularly a decision to let Ullrich race.

The website is entitled, "The Green Light for Ulle," and its concept is to gain signatures for a petition in support of Ullrich. "We [will] address this petition in particular to the UCI and Swiss Cycling, but also the race organizers, like ASO, Unipublic and RCS [the three grand tours]," wrote Thomas Haak in the website's press release.

For Ullrich to race, he will need a team. Earlier, Tinkoff announced that their contractual dealings with the German were all but over, however, it possible Ullrich may still ride for an Italian team, perhaps Davide Boifava's formation. Boifava is constructing a team out of Team LPR, and has already signed riders like Daniele Nardello.

The other, although far fetched, possibility is that Ullrich signs with Manolo Saiz. The Spaniard still holds, via Active Bay, the legal rights to a ProTour license. Astaná has pleaded with Saiz to release the license so they can safely start a new team, with riders such as Andreas Klöden and Paolo Savoldelli. A decision on which teams will in the ProTour is expected on, or soon after, December 7, when the ProTour License Commission meets.

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