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Jan Ullrich is going to have to produce a time trial performance out of the top drawer today if he is to achieve his goal of winning the Deutschland Tour. Almost a minute down on race leader Levi Leipheimer going into Sunday's seventh stage to the Feldberg summit in the Black Forest, the German star lost another 30 seconds to the American in dismally cold and wet conditions.
The stage was won by Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans, who finished 11 seconds clear of Fabian Jeker and Jorg Jaksche, with Leipheimer fourth another three seconds back. Ullrich, though, could only manage 11th place and now trails Leipheimer by 1-26 going into today's 31.1km test between Ludwigshafen and Weinheim.
"The rain is certainly taking its toll on me. With the temperature at eight degrees I nearly froze out there. It is not easy to turn in really top class performances in those circumstances," said Ullrich, who is still suffering from a cold that has hampered him since the race started.
"Jan is definitely the best time trialist in the race," commented Leipheimer. The American's Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer isn't bullish about Leipheimer's chances, admitting: "I don't think that his time cushion will prove enough."
Even detailed knowledge of the Feldberg stage didn't overly help Ullrich in the end, although he said it did make some difference. "I know the whole area, the Feldberg included, like the back of my hand. That was important today, because visibility was poor during this stage," he said.
"The conditions are really atrocious this year. I have never experienced such a rain-soaked cycling tour," Ullrich continued. "It really starts to gnaw away at the morale, but we are still fully motivated to give it everything to win this tour. On a day like today, you really notice that the team is two men short and more work has to be heaved onto fewer shoulders. The rain has been leaving me feeling a bit sluggish. For that reason, it will also not be any easier for me to make up time [in the time trial]."
Stage 6, Friedrichshafen-Singen
1 Maxim Iglinski (Kaz) Domina Vacanze 175km in 3.50.00
2 Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
4 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval
5 David Etxebarria (Spa) Liberty Seguros
6 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Quick Step
7 Iker Cama¤o (Spa) Euskaltel
8 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis
9 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC
10 Bjrn Schrder (Ger) Wiesenhof 1.35
Stage 7, Singen-Feldberg
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 173km in 4.56.10
2 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval 0.11
3 Jrg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.14
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.26
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 0.29
8 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC
9 Pieter Weening (Hol) Rabobank 0.33
10 Wim van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.35
11 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.44
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 32.53.37
2 Totschnig 0.33
3 Evans 0.58
4 Jaksche 1.21
5 Ullrich 1.26
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak 2.42
7 Jeker 3.07
8 Saul Raisin (USA) Crdit Agricole 3.47
9 Van Huffel 4.19
10 Bruseghin 4.50
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