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Ullrich, Simoni skipping national championships

Jan Ullrich has pulled out of the German national road race championships because he wants to spend the few rest days he has remaining before the Tour de France with his pregnant girlfriend, he said Friday. Ullrich, the reigning Olympic road race champion, will return to the Tour after being absent last year due to injury. With the Tour starting Saturday July 5, the 29-year-old Bianchi rider feels that taking part in Sunday's national championships would be unfair to his pregnant girlfriend, Gaby Weis. The 1997 Tour winner and four-time runner-up said he was "aware a lot of people would be

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By VeloNews.com and wire reports

Jan Ullrich has pulled out of the German national road race championships because he wants to spend the few rest days he has remaining before the Tour de France with his pregnant girlfriend, he said Friday.

Ullrich, the reigning Olympic road race champion, will return to the Tour after being absent last year due to injury.

With the Tour starting Saturday July 5, the 29-year-old Bianchi rider feels that taking part in Sunday’s national championships would be unfair to his pregnant girlfriend, Gaby Weis.

The 1997 Tour winner and four-time runner-up said he was “aware a lot of people would be disappointed with my late pull-out,” but added that he hoped they would understand the couple’s circumstances.

Meanwhile, Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), who has been suffering a thigh-muscle problem, will skip Sunday’s Italian national professional championships, the only race planned for the 2003 Giro d’Italia winner before the start of the Tour.

“It wasn’t worth risking it,” said team manager Claudio Corti. “The Italian championships is an important race, and it wouldn’t be fair to ride in such a precarious condition.” –AFP contributed to this report.