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Who would be a millionaire Tour de France star, eh? Twenty-four hours after ringing endorsements from his employer, his team boss and his doctor, this morning Ullrich woke up to his more usual breakfast of German media brickbats.
Former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer and 1966 world champion (at least Germany had one that year!) Rudi Altig has launched a stinging on his compatriot Jan Ullrich, claiming that the T-Mobile leader "has more class than Lance Armstrong but doesn't work enough."
Altig is one of the many former greats working as television pundit on the Grande Boucle. Yesterday, the German stepped down from the ARD gantry position to give his verdict on Ullrich's Tour so far - and there was little patriotic goodwill in evidence.
"I find Ullrich tiresome," Altig told L'Equipe. "Last year he won the Tour of Switzerland in the mountains, then, this year, he loses the race in the mountains but his entourage continues to tells us that he is stronger this year. I don't think that they are doing him any favours.
"I don't understand Erik Zabel's omission from the Tour team, either: Erik was left out at Jan's request because he wanted a team completely devoted to him, but then Jan goes and gets overtaken by Armstrong in the first time trial."
Altig stressed that he enjoyed a cordial relationship with Ullrich, but that "[Jan] only ever does what he wants." He also questioned the 1997 Tour champion's commitment to cycling and also his passion for the sport. "Jan earns 250,000 euros per month but he doesn't give a lot back to cycling. The other Sunday, he didn't even ride the German national championship. And, most incredible of all, no one at T-Mobile calls him to account.
"I don't think that Jan loves his job any more," Altig continued. "It's a real shame, because if he went about it as seriously and enthusiastically as Armstrong, I don't think that the American would have won six Tours de France."
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