Ullrich targets D-Tour again

Thwarted by Americans in both the Tour de France and the Deutschland Tour this season, Jan Ullrich r

Thwarted by Americans in both the Tour de France and the Deutschland Tour this season, Jan Ullrich r

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After being foiled by Americans at both the Tour de France and in his national tour last season, Jan Ullrich has reaffirmed his desire to win both events next season. Ullrich was speaking at Thursday's launch of the Deutschland Tour, where he lost out to Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer back in August.

"The will to win the double in 2006 is there. I rate the Deutschland Tour almost as high as the Tour de France. After finishing second this year, next time I want to win it," said Ullrich.

Ullrich expressed his satisfaction with the route: "The race profile suits me. It provides a good opportunity to ride for overall victory. The Deutschland Tour is the second highlight of the year for me, after the Tour de France," he restated.

The nine-day race whose organisers have stated its goal of becoming the year's second-biggest tour after the Tour itself kicks off with a 10-kilometre prologue in Dsseldorf. From there it heads south towards the key mountain stages in Austria, culminating with the crossing the 2017-metre high Khtai pass on stage seven.

Unlike this year's race, the riders will be spared the climb to the 2670-metre high Rettenbachferner. "That sounds like a good idea, coming only one week after the Tour de France and two days after the [HEW Cyclassics] World Cup," declared CSC's Jens Voigt. "The tour is well established and doesn't need to prove anything with such extreme features."

Ullrich's chances of success in next year's race should be high assuming he comes out of the Tour de France with good form. The mountain stages are, following some rider protests, not as tough as in this year's D-Tour, and there will 50 kilometres of time trialling on which he can overturn any losses.

The route:

Stage 1, August 1: Dsseldorf time trial, 10km
Stage 2, August 2: Dsseldorf-Bielefeld, 198km
Stage 3, August 3: Minden-Goslar, 209km
Stage 4, August 4: Witzenhausen-Schweinfurt, 202km
Stage 5, August 5: Heidenheim-Bad Tlz, 192km
Stage 6, August 6: Bad Tlz-Seefeld (Austria), 189km
Stage 7, August 7: Seefeld-St Anton (Austria), 180km Stage 8, August 8, Bad Sckingen time trial, 40km
Stage 9, August 9: Bad Krozingen-Karlsruhe, 182km

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