Monday, August 29, 2011

Quotable Link: Jan Ulrich Renewed...

"... Completely dead after the 30 km ascent, but totally happy. That's cycling. And it is really fun again, this feeling I have long missed." 

I was happy to read that Jan Ulrich has been able to find pleasure in cycling again. Most of us will go a lifetime without knowing anything but pleasure in turning the cranks; we will never be faced with the pressures of a top-ranked professional racer, never have our life placed under a microscope whether we are on the bike or off, never will we grow to resent cycling as a cause of career and personal misfortune. It is a pressure that, throughout the history of the sport, has destroyed riders, emotionally and physically; taken their lives.

Yes, I was (am still) a fan of Ulrich beginning in the mid-1990s. There was so much potential in the way he powered along the roads of Europe. If anyone was going to take over the mantle of Tour maestro from Miguel Indurain, I thought for sure it would be Ulrich. There have only ever been two professional team jerseys I have purchased for myself, Ulrich's Telekom team being one of those. He may not have been the only reason I was a Telekom supporter (Ludwig, Bolts, Zabel, Heppner, Aldag, and others played their part too), but as the team's overall contender, Ulrich was the standout. Though his career as a professional racer ended five years ago, those years are still under the microscope, particularly his connection to Operacion Puerto, and a ruling in the most recent case against him related to that is expected at the end of September. We all know that cycling has a curious way of healing, both mentally and physically. It seems as though Jan is experiencing this, and will hopefully continue to do so.

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