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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
Jan Ullrich is itching to get back into the saddle after undergoing surgery on his troublesome knee in Hamburg Wednesday.
The Telekom rider said after the 45-minute operation that he intends to be competitive again this season.
“As soon as I’m able I’ll take up training for the coming races,” he told reporters
Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France hero and a four time runner-up, announced he would be missing this year’s edition earlier this month because of his recurring knee problem.
On hearing the news of his enforced absence from this year’s Tour de France the three-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong said he was disappointed not to be facing off against the German.
“It really is a shame. For me he is the rival I fear the most and it has always given me great pleasure to race against him.”
Ullrich, 28, said earlier this month that he was aiming to return for the Vuelta a España in September.
According to Ullrich’s manager, Wolfgang Strohband, there is no suggestion that he will not be returning to the saddle this season.
“In any event Jan will be competing this year,” he predicted.
Ullrich took part in the Tour of Qatar back in January but was then forced to pull out of the Tour of South Africa early because of the knee problem.
He incurred the wrath of his team though on May 1 when he had his driving license confiscated after being found guilty of drink driving and causing an accident.
His contract with Telekom runs until 2003 but he has made it known that he intends to compete at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.