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Although Jan Ullrich failed to defend the Tour of Switzerland title this past week, eventually finishing third behind Aitor Gonzalez and Michael Rogers, the T-Mobile team leader is happy with the way things went for him during the race. "I want to wear yellow in Paris in July and I reckon I am on the right track," he said on the T-Mobile website.
"My final hard test before the Tour de France is behind me now. I wasn't able to defend the yellow jersey I won in Switzerland last year, but that wasn't my main objective this time round, so I can easily live with third place overall," Ullrich continued, saying of Sunday's final stage: "There wasn't much more in it for me today. On top of that, Aitor Gonzalez rode a very impressive race today and deserved to win."
Ullrich has been stressing for some time that the result in Switzerland would mean little, it would be his performance that would count. On that score, the German professed himself very happy. "Overall, I am very, very happy with the way things went this past week in Switzerland. The team did tremendous work - a big thank you to all of them. It was great how the lads hung in there, supported me and also protected me when that was required. Fantastic!
"I am in much better shape than I was at this time last year. My form is still not at 100 per cent, but I still have two weeks to go to the high watermark of my season, the Tour de France."
Ullrich even found time to compliment Quick Step's Michael Rogers, who has agreed to join T-Mobile next season. "I can really understand Michael Rogers' disappointment. To lose the yellow jersey, practically on the final kilometres - that is tough. But he is young and we will hear a lot more about him," said Ullrich of his future team-mate.
Ullrich is not certain to start this weekend's German road championship. The course is Mannheim is believed to favour sprinters and Ullrich may miss the event to focus on training at home in Switzerland.
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