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Jan’s Journal: A confidence boost, a flat day and the road to Germany

Hello,Well, finally we had a day that gave us all a renewed sense of hope! Yesterday’s team trial was exactly what we needed to restore confidence on this team. No, we didn’t win, but finishing 30 seconds off the pace set by Discovery and CSC was better than we had hoped to do. The morning started early for us, as the UCI medical crew came in for the usual checks. We also had a little birthday party for Valerio Piva, our director, before heading off to do a little bit of last-minute training. We got a pleasant surprise, too, when we came across a big organized fan club, with big banners

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By Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile professional cycling team

Ullrich is looking forward to riding into Germany

Ullrich is looking forward to riding into Germany

Photo: Graham Watson

Hello,
Well, finally we had a day that gave us all a renewed sense of hope!

Yesterday’s team trial was exactly what we needed to restore confidence on this team. No, we didn’t win, but finishing 30 seconds off the pace set by Discovery and CSC was better than we had hoped to do.

The morning started early for us, as the UCI medical crew came in for the usual checks. We also had a little birthday party for Valerio Piva, our director, before heading off to do a little bit of last-minute training. We got a pleasant surprise, too, when we came across a big organized fan club, with big banners and yells of support. I think it put us all in the right mood.

At breakfast Tuesday morning I told the team that we are going to pour it on during this time trial … and everyone on the team did! That includes the staff. You can’t really get far in a race like this without a well-coordinated team, both on and off the bike.

Our mechanics lived up to their responsibilities beautifully today. Every single one of our bikes was adjusted perfectly. Everything went off without a hitch, largely because of the guys who work on those machines with such great attention: Dirk Tyteca, Perry Moerman, Pedro Wever and, naturally, my brother Stefan. They all have a lot of experience and are absolute professionals, in whom we can put 100 percent of our trust. That means a lot.

Well, like I said, yesterday’s stage gave us all a big boost. Today was one of those typical flat stages, in which the whole team spends all of its energy staying up front and – more importantly – out of trouble. I always had at least two or three of the guys with me. I appreciate how much work they have to do up there, spending so much time riding into the wind.

As expected, the sprint was crazy and we did all that we could to avoid any problems as the peloton came speeding into town. We managed to avoid any real problems in that crash and we were delayed only a bit … but no impact on my finishing time.

Now, I get to look forward to a massage and dinner, which is going to be great because our cook, Walter Groezinger, is here with us again. He knows exactly what everyone likes and prepares beautiful meals with all of the proper nutritional balance. He is always careful to make certain that we have the freshest vegetables and ingredients, while still giving us quite a variety to choose from. I’m happy he’s here. I think it gives the team a big advantage having him around.

Tomorrow, we expect another day like today, except that we are moving closer and closer to Germany. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to being in Germany for even a short visit. After that, we start working our way to the Alps. I can tell you for sure the whole team is anxious for that part of the Tour. We’re all ready.

Until then,
Jan