Lance v Jan: TT challenge

Today's Saint Etienne time trial marks the 14th occasion that Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich have f

Today's Saint Etienne time trial marks the 14th occasion that Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich have f

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Since 1996, when T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich made his Tour de France debut, the German rider has squared up to Lance Armstrong no less than 13 times in time trials. This afternoon they go head to head again.

The duel between the pair has been far less gripping this year than in the past, due to Armstrong's marked superiority. Nonetheless, he and Ullrich go into this afternoon's time trial in Saint-Etienne as favourites for the stage win.

In their 13 'matches' against the clock, Armstrong has been faster than Ullrich no less than 11 times, including five stage wins. Ullrich, meanwhile, has only been faster than the Texan twice, which includes his famous time trial success at Cap Dcouverte in 2003.

They have raced each other against the clock in the Tour over a total distance of 383.6 kilometres, with Armstrong 'winning' over all those stages by a total of five minutes and 25 seconds.

That in itself explains why Ullrich's destiny appears to be that of Armstrong's perennial nearly-man.

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