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Knee injury forces Ullrich out of Tour

Former winner Jan Ullrich (Telekom) revealed Wednesday that he has pulled out of this year's Tour de France because of an injury to his right knee, giving Lance Armstrong a huge boost in his bid to win a fourth successive Tour in July. The 28-year-old German, winner of the world's toughest bicycle race in 1997 and reigning Olympic road race champion, has been fighting the injury for some time and feels that he will be unable to regain full fitness in time for the July 6-28 race. "It makes no sense, every time I increase my effort the pain comes back," he revealed on his Web site. It

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2002 AFP

Former winner Jan Ullrich (Telekom) revealed Wednesday that he has pulled out of this year’s Tour de France because of an injury to his right knee, giving Lance Armstrong a huge boost in his bid to win a fourth successive Tour in July. The 28-year-old German, winner of the world’s toughest bicycle race in 1997 and reigning Olympic road race champion, has been fighting the injury for some time and feels that he will be unable to regain full fitness in time for the July 6-28 race. “It makes no sense, every time I increase my effort the pain comes back,” he revealed on his Web site. It is the second time the four-time Tour de France runner-up has had to withdraw from the race, injury causing him to miss the 1999 Tour. “As regards his knee, we have always pushed it to the limit,” his Telekom team doctor Lothar Heinrich said. Ullrich had resumed training just four weeks ago after forced lay-off of three weeks to rest the knee, but as the training increased the same problem resurfaced. “Obviously with such a race as the Tour de France the training levels had to be stepped up,” Heinrich said. “If the pain returned when he was training at 80-90 percent of his capacities then a reasonable preparation for the Tour just isn’t possible,” he added. Ullrich’s knee worries re-occurred last Tuesday on the eve of a race and the next day he was involved in a hit-and-run incident and lost his license, which his team claim came out of frustration at not shaking off the injury.

Copyright 2002 AFP