Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

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Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

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I won’t further comment on “The contrast in attitudes towards DDR doping days and pro cycling’s leaden years is striking” because I went some length on it below. Ullrich himself isn’t interviewed but that might not be any loss, one of the reasons for his troubles with the media over the years stems from him just not being that articulate in set-piece interviews.

Sure, and proud, but in case I could choose I’d always pick as a political model Rojava or Chiapas over DDR or the USSR If you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, having bought the hardback you can feel the heft, it runs well beyond 400 pages with notes and an index and the font isn’t big either. Well apparently Gabriele is very sensitive about East Germany… As Inrng often says, it gives more informations about you than about the subject when you react so strongly to what is at worst a slightly deflected review of a book you didn’t read.In a podcast episode Friebe mentions that Lance Armstrong looms large in this book and and prior to reading this was a concern, especially if the publishers wanted him to be crowbarred into the story because of his celebrity. The 1997 Tour win is symbolic for a country trying to reunite, easterners could see one of their own winning, westerners can celebrate their gain as the first – and only – German Tour winner, it was an act of unification itself. And let me be clear: I consider it fairer to treat people as “we” do with Basso than as it happened with Ullrich. Although cases of doping on minors in the DDR were actually reported, the doping angle looks totally misplaced here, especially considering the Keulephant in the Room: Ullrich spent a couple of years in a KJS, at most three, as an early teenager, whereas pretty much his whole pro career happened at Telekom / T-Mobile over more than a decade. Doping is more of a background story, as you would expect from a cycling story from the 90s, it certainly isn’t the main issue covered in this book and it certainly doesn’t lay the blame at the feet of the DDR.

I think that if there’s a contrast in attitudes of sort to reflect about is how singling out DDR allows us to “forget” all the time what USADA was doing, or CONI and so on and on. There’s injury, drink-driving, a doping ban following an out-of-competition test after a nightclub and the slide begins. Let’s leave the Keul and Southern (Federal) Germany universities surprise to the readers of the book, then. The book places Ullrich’s life in the wider context, the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification are more than a historic and political soundtrack, these events shapes lives. He went on to become Germany’s first ever Tour winner, storming to victory in that edition by almost ten minutes, a result that was greeted as an era-defining changing of the guard.Jan Ullrich’s career was part of this, his first win suggested he’d dominate the Tour, and with it the sport for years to come. Whether through early problems like weight gain or the deep personal problems of recent years, at times there’s a temptation as a reader to place Ullrich onto an imaginary psychologist’s couch and diagnose his issues through the pages, especially as the intensity of the book seems to grow with recent events where Ullrich goes from trying to win a bicycle race to coping with life. Think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick here, but perhaps I should have explained things better, especially as doping is always a topic that provokes reactions. Then came 1997 and Stage 10 from Luchon to Arcalis, a ski station in Andorra whose name today still seems to evoke Ullrich’s ascent, the day he rode the field off his wheel, his flat back, a gold earning dangling and the black, red, gold bands of the Bundesflagge on his jersey.

as in: “There’s exploration on when Ullrich might have started using EPO and whether he was a victim of the East German state doping program”). Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was is the first biography of Jan Ullrich, arguably the most naturally talented cyclist of his generation, and also one of the most controversial champions of the Tour de France.Yet this put him on a pedestal and the move from cheer to adulation, and the risks this brings are well set out in this book. As I also said, it may well depend on the review, but just check the insisted presence of “DDR” above.

The possibility of doping in the DDR days is perhaps more about Ullrich’s upbringing as a child and the person he became, but as suggested above, the danger is ersatz psychology. A small picture of Walter Ulbricht with His Antikapitalist and Antiformalist glasses may calm you down : https://media2. For many it was a vision of the future: if he could climb like this, win the time trials, and arrive in Paris with nine minutes on his next rival all at the age of 23 – precocious in those days – then the Tour seemed to belong to him. It’s an irony of sort that they were founded the same year when Keul was elected President of the German Association of Sports Physician.So awesome was his display that it sent shockwaves throughout the world of cycling and invited headlines such as L’Equipe’s ‘The New Giant’.



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