No hard feelings chez Ullrich

Jan Ullrich may have split from his long-term girlfriend earlier this year, but the pair met again a

Jan Ullrich may have split from his long-term girlfriend earlier this year, but the pair met again a


During yesterday's stage to Gerardmer, Jan Ullrich stopped at the roadside, as the race exited Germany, to briefly embrace his former partner, Gaby, and his two-year-old daughter, Sarah Maria. It seems that Ullrich and his entourage have made their peace with the split, announced in early summer, between the German star and Gaby, his long-term girlfriend.

Ullrich's mother, in comments to Bild, clearly thinks so. "Going public about the split with Gaby has lifted a big weight off his shoulders," said Marianne Katz, of her son. "He feels ready for the duel in the mountains."

With Ullrich away racing, Gaby is taking on full-time parental duties. "Sarah Maria is sweet and very grown-up for her age. Gaby puts a lot into a being a good mother and of course I feel a strong connection to Gaby. Break-ups happen in life - it doesn't make any difference if it's a celebrity, a normal person or a pro cyclist," opined Mama Ullrich, before adding, that "even after a break-up, you can still be friends."

Der Kaiser's mother is a loyal supporter of her son's efforts. "I always watch the Tour and start work early when the race is on so I can see the race later. I start work at seven in the morning and get back home at half past three. It's hard though. Stefan (Ullrich's brother and T-Mobile mechanic) called me after the first time trial to calm me down. And Jan sent me a text message the next morning saying: 'Mum, don't worry - everything is under control."'

It seems that Frau Katz wasn't convinced. "Of course it wasn't under control, but now he's overcome that blow and got over it. I know that Jan is in great form. Had he been at full power in the first time trial, he would never have lost a minute to Lance. He'll definitely give the fans something to cheer and he will show in the mountains how well prepared he is for the Tour."

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