The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
German magazine Bild is proclaiming the 2006 to have been designed with one rider in mind ? Jan Ullrich. "It's a Jan Ullrich Tour! Come on Jan, just say merci! The French are serving you your second win on a yellow-gold tray. ..," boasted the headlines.
The magazine has come to this conclusion based on three important changes to the 2006 route. Firstly, there is no team time trial, an event Ivan Basso and his CSC team would have been favourite to win. Secondly, the Alpine stages are at the end of the race, a time when Ullrich has traditionally rid himself of the excess kilos and ridden into some form. And thirdly, there are two long time trials in the race, " Ullrich's absolute specialty ," claims Bild.
While the magazine is not so na?ve as to admit that Ullrich's greatest advantage will be the absence of a certain American, they have perhaps also forgotten that Ullrich is his own worst enemy. Excess weight, too much partying/too little training, and that fragile ego of his? Bild might claim that the ASO have done all they can to build a Tour de France for the German, but he has the ability to destroy his own chances just as much as he has of winning the race.
For his part, Ullrich commented on the racecourse via his personal website. "Of course I am happy about the two long time trials, where I can show my strength. The climbing specialists will have their advantages in the mountains - the stages in the
After his surprise victory in the 2004 Giro d?Italia, starlet Damiano Cunego has had a disappointing 2005 season. His lack of results can be mostly attributed to his recovery from mononucleosis.
Next year, Cunego is expected to bounce back and his team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli, told L?Equipe that he expected his star to be ready for the Giro next year, " In a race that you have to say is mountainous, Cunego will aim to win ."
Martinelli went on to add that after his absence this year, the Italian would be on the start line for the Tour de France, come next July. "The Tour will be equally in Cunego's program after this year's forced absence. It's also mountainous and it will be good experience in a race that will be dominated by the duel between Basso and Ullrich ."