Ullrich crash ‘less serious than it looked’

Lance Armstrong's main rival, Jan Ullrich, is reported to be OK following a training accident on Fri


Lance Armstrong’s main rival, Jan Ullrich, is reported to be OK following a training accident on Fri



Jan Ullrich, winner of the 1997 Tour de France, has consistently been Lance Armstrong’s biggest rival at the race and the German looks in better shape than ever. But Ullrich suffered a setback on Friday morning, suffering a training crash that left him with neck wounds after his head smashed through the rear window of his team car. His T-Mobile team, however, say that there is no serious damage done.

The German was motorpacing behind a T-Mobile team car, driven by directeur sportif Mario Kummer, late on Friday morning when a truck up ahead apparently braked suddenly on a roundabout, causing Kummer to brake and Ullrich to crash through the rear window. According to T-Mobile team doctor Lothar Heinrich, “it’s not that bad, and less serious than it looked at the time”.

“He’s got cuts on the left side of his neck,” Heinrich continued. “We disinfected his wounds, and there was no need for him to go to the hospital, but his neck might be a bit stiff tomorrow.”

Ullrich was apparently not wearing a helmet, but it is thought that there should not be any long-term ill-effects, and that he should be competitive in Saturday’s 19km opening time trial.

It’s not the first time that the 31 year old has had a problem with the Vende region’s many roundabouts. In the penultimate time trial of the 2003 Tour between Pornic and Nantes, Ullrich hit the deck while pushing hard to take the yellow jersey from Armstrong’s shoulders in the pouring rain. Ironically, when that roundabout incident was mentioned in Thursday’s press conference, Ullrich just laughed.


He’s probably not laughing now.