July 12, 2004
Ullrich upbeat on rest day
Five-time Tour de France runner-up Jan Ullrich says he's not concerned about the 55 seconds by which he trails 5-time winner Lance Armstrong.
"The 55sec which I am trailing Lance Armstrong by is not going to irritate me."
"It would be ridiculous for me to stay in my room and mope and hide my face under a sheet over such a small gap," added the Olympic road race champion.
Ullrich clearly puts a lot of stock in the last time trial of this year's Tour, a 55-km loop of Besancon July 24th.
"I will not be prepared to whistle 'la paloma blanca' (a famous German song) until the time-trial in Besancon and contrary to some people I am very excited to see the mountain stages on the horizon.
"In the Tour de France, it is imperative to take every opportunity that arises no matter the terrain. If luck smiles on me, I will not reject it."
Besides Armstrong, Ullrich said he is marking Tyler Hamilton and Oscar Sevilla of Phonak, Iban Mayo of Euskaltel-Euskadi, and Ivan Basso of Team CSC.
And what of Armstrong?
"I have noticed how he is on the bike. It is clear that I will have to be 100 percent focused."
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