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Jan Ullrich's hopes of a first victory in the Deutschland Tour all but disappeared when, despite winning today's 31.1km time trial, he did not gain enough time on leader Levi Leipheimer to take the overall lead going into tomorrow's final stage into Bonn. Ullrich completed the course into Weinheim 11 seconds faster than Bobby Julich, with Leipheimer 55 seconds back in third place.
Ullrich increased his advantage over Leipheimer at each of the four checkpoints, but his time trial-winning gap still left him 31 seconds behind the American in the overall standings. Leipheimer should now take what will be the biggest win of his career if, as expected, Tuesday's final stage ends in a bunch sprint in Bonn.
"The win was very important for me and for the team. Overcoming Leipheimer's 1-26 lead was too big an ask, but now I am with him on the podium," Ullrich commented after Leipheimer had completed his time trial.
The 168km final stage from Bad Kreuznach to Bonn follows a flat course that favours the sprinters. "Gerolsteiner will do everything to control the field and I am not a sprinter," said Ullrich. "I don't think there is anything in it for me."
There was some compensation for Ullrich as he jumped from fifth place up to second overall, but yet again has come across an American rider who has simply been too strong for him.
Stage 8, Ludwigshafen-Weinheim
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 31.1km in 36.56
2 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 0.11
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.55
4 Jrg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 1.02
5 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.11
6 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 1.22
7 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 1.36
8 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) CSC 1.37
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner
2 Ullrich 0.31
3 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 1.23
4 Jrg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 1.28
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 1.53
Ullrich wins TT, but Levi holds leadClose
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