D.he former cycling star Jan Ullrich spoke publicly about his health for the first time after a stay in hospital. The 1997 Tour de France winner told the “Bild” newspaper: “I had a thrombosis and very severe blood poisoning. I escaped death again! To dispel all speculation: I did a drug test at the beginning of the treatment – and it was negative, of course! “
In autumn 2018, Ullrich had admitted drug problems in a statement and said he had undergone treatment. A few months ago, in the presence of his former rival Lance Armstrong, he gave deep insights into what was probably the most difficult phase of his life. “You know my story, three years ago I felt really bad. You visited me and I was on the same path as Marco Pantani – almost dead, “said Ullrich in the presence of Armstrong and his former teammate George Hincapie and team boss Johan Bruyneel in Armstrong’s podcast” The Move “.
This time too, Ullrich thanked Armstrong: “He was the first to see me in Mexico and helped me a lot. I thank him very much, as well as the rest of my team. ”The 48-year-old also said:“ My back has also caused major problems recently, three or four intervertebral discs have now been completely rubbed off. ”He used to be 1.83 meters tall , “Now it’s only 1.81”.
Most recently, the plans for a Jan Ullrich bike center including a museum in the former cyclist’s adopted home in southern Baden were broken. The project failed primarily due to financing issues, as the mayor of Merdingen, Martin Rupp, announced in mid-December. The initiators criticized too little concession. “Unfortunately it was not possible to reach an agreement with the municipality on the financial terms,” it said in a statement. You want to implement your project in a different location. There are inquiries from several municipalities for this.
According to the municipality, the investors around Ullrich turned to the 2500-inhabitant community near Freiburg at the beginning of the year to build a bike center with overnight accommodation, Jan-Ullrich-Museum, bike shop and gastronomy on an approximately 6000 square meter commercial property. The planned investments of around 4.5 million euros should have been partially financed by a 200 square meter arcade in the building complex. However, citizens protested against the amusement arcade.
“Such a large project by private investors has to be planned in such a way that it can get by without financial support from the community,” explained Mayor Rupp. Otherwise the community would have suffered massive financial damage. The promotion of private tourism projects is not a task of general interest. The initiators showed little understanding for the negative attitude of the community and criticized, among other things, the communication style and the dealings with Ullrich. They said they would have liked Rupp in particular to have more confidence in the project.
Ullrich met his former rival Armstrong for a bike ride on Mallorca at the end of September. The Texan Armstrong had previously published pictures on Instagram that show him in friendship with Ullrich. “It is impossible to put into words what it means to me (and millions of others) to see this man back and healthy again,” wrote Armstrong. “I am so proud of you, Champ, and I love you and will always for you be there. “
Armstrong and Ullrich had repeatedly fought thrilling duels on the Tour of France after the turn of the millennium. Armstrong’s seven overall victories (1999 to 2005) were canceled due to massive doping offenses. Ullrich’s career was practically over in 2006 with the “Operacion Puerto”, the doping revelations around the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. As a result, Ullrich also experienced a health crash, the low point he reached in 2018.