Auf wiedersehen – Der Kaiser

February 27, 2007

Today, Jan Ullrich announced his retirement from cycling. Although a target of the press and fans for years, I’ve identified myself more with him as an American than the Obvious Choice ™.

It’s easy to cheer for the favorite, as I did at first due to jingoism (it’s not tough when you grow up about 30 minutes from Greg LeMond). But I like a hero with flaws, one that has to deal with a Man Vs Self conflict. While I could admire Armstrong’s work ethic, I was drawn to Ullrich’s talents and trials and tribulations.

In two days I fly down to Mexico and will be doing some triathlon training. You can bet I’ll have the World Time trial jersey and Deutschland gear with me.

5 Responses to “Auf wiedersehen – Der Kaiser”

  1. sebas Says:

    Isn’t “Der Kaiser” not usually Franz Beckenbauer? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Beckenbauer suggests so in any case.

  2. wadejolson Says:

    Your jealousy of my Beckenbauer jersey rears its ugly head again!

    Europe apparently didn’t have a problem with three popes at one point, so I’m unsure if Germany should have a problem with two athletes nicknamed Kaisers.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=kaiser+ullrich&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

  3. Alex Says:

    It’s sad to see him go.

    He is/was a great sportsmen, the most successful german cyclist ever.
    He always stayed the same humble and down-to-earth guy he was from the beginning.

    His interview last nightat Beckmann was very impressive. It wasn’t impressive what he said or how, it was impressive how naive and unprepared he was, and also a little bit bullheaded (stur). And I really mean this in a positive way. He didn’t present statements he had prepared before, he didn’t show some practiced TV facade, it was the real Jan Ullrich. He was heavily frustrated and showed it. To me it is obvious that he isn’t/wasn’t a cold-blooded cheater.

    So either he didn’t do anything wrong, or he did just the same as everybody does and even then there is no reason to put him down as it happens now in germany.

    After all, doping isn’t a crime in germany.

    Alex, who owns a real Jan Ullrich autograph🙂

  4. wadejolson Says:

    That’s a good story.

    How cyclists can be in the same situation as Jan yet signed and riding with teams while he has such dificulties is beyond me.

    The cycling world is in such chaos with rulings right now (even with UCI and ProTour issues); it’s a shame to lose him.

    To win before Armstrong, I was really hoping he would finish out with a victory in last years TdF afte rArmstrong to head into retirement with a little more dignity and redemption.

    Regarding the allegations, it’s naive to think that only a couple of elite cyclists cheated and all the others were snow white. Where there’s money, there a drive to be sucessful. His situation is no different than others’, I just wish he wasn’t the target as an example to scare other riders.

  5. Anand Says:

    What exactly did Beckmann ask him? I don’t know German, but Im an Ullrich fan. Its so unfair that he’s been accused of doping. I wish someday his name is cleared and he returns back to cycling. Moser came back at 42 to reclaim his hour record from Boardman though he failed narrowly. Anything is possible. Hopefully.


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