Farewell, Ullrich

As suspected, Jan Ullrich has announced his retirement rather than continue his cycling purgatory sans team and license. It's not terribly satisfying as a fan to hear this: if he isn't guilty you would like to cheer and honor his career; if he is guilty you want to feel that justice was somehow indirectly served. Like many of the Operation Puerto cases, you want to know how the sport could be ripped apart on the eve of the Tour de France without a single actual rider being sanctioned.

Instead we are left with the sad knowledge that there are no more Tour de France champions racing. I have a hard time regarding Oscar Pereiro as a TdF champion regardless of any Floyd decision as Pereiro's ascension was a bit of a gigantic-breakaway fluke. Floyd's future in the sport is of course uncertain still.

Ullrich gave us many great Tour de France moments. Perversely, my favorite Ullrich moments were his crashes -- going off the side of the mountain road during stage 13 of the 2001 TdF and his crash on the rain-soaked final TT of the 2004 TdF that cost him another chances at victory. In both cases he got back on the bike and kept on chugging.

related articles: Pro Tour 2007
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