Monday, June 19, 2006

Big Deal

So apparently Jan "Strudel" Ullrich can still time trial. Wow. What big news! He won the final stage of the Tour de Suisse with an impressive race against the clock, beating such feared rivals as Angel Vicioso and Janez Brajkovic. Who?

Photo courtesy AFP

Sure, Jan beat Ivan Basso in a Giro TT, but consider that he only gained 28 seconds by doing so. Even if the Tour this year contained five individual TTs and Jan won every single one of them, he'd still only pick up a couple of minutes at most. Basso can conceivably gain 5-10 minutes on Fat Jan in the mountains, even though there are fewer this year than in previous years. All of Jan's bulk is a serious advantage in the TTs, but as usual he will suffer like a dog on the climbs while Ivan spins easily to the top with a smile on his face.

Jan Ullrich is no more a Tour contender this year than he was in the past seven. Basso, if he can maintain his Giro form and luck stays with him, will beat Ullrich big time.