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Ullrich: I will be ready for Tour

Jan Ullrich declared Sunday he will be ready and determined to win the world's greatest cycling race for a second time. The 28-year-old, who won the Tour de France in 1997 and has been runner-up in four Tours, is currently without a team having resigned from Telekom after admitting taking ecstasy on a night out with friends while recovering in hospital after a second operation on a troublesome knee. However Ullrich said that he would be ready to compete when his suspension ends on March 23, 2003 and expects he will be riding for the CSC team, managed by former teammate Bjarne Riis, who

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002

Photo: Bryan Jew (file photo)

Jan Ullrich declared Sunday he will be ready and determined to win the world’s greatest cycling race for a second time.

The 28-year-old, who won the Tour de France in 1997 and has been runner-up in four Tours, is currently without a team having resigned from Telekom after admitting taking ecstasy on a night out with friends while recovering in hospital after a second operation on a troublesome knee.

However Ullrich said that he would be ready to compete when his suspension ends on March 23, 2003 and expects he will be riding for the CSC team, managed by former teammate Bjarne Riis, who owes much of his own 1996 Tour de France triumph to Ullrich’s selfless pacing for him.

“I am hopeful I can start my season at the end of March in the Catalan Week race,” the East German-born rider told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Ullrich said he had started training again as he set his sights on reclaiming the greatest prize in the sport and depriving Lance Armstrong of a fifth successive Tour de France title. “I want nothing less than a second Tour de France crown,” he said. Ullrich claimed that after a year of frustration with his recurring knee injury followed by the ban he had rediscovered his passion for the sport.

“I have the enthusiasm of a rookie, though one with eight years experience in the saddle,” said Ullrich, who is on the point of moving from Germany to Switzerland.
— Copyright AFP2002