Jan Ullrich - not beaten yet!
Speaking on his excellent website (To visit his site click here) Jan Ullrich has ended any speculation that Armstrong’s attack after he had waited for him was outside the limits of fair play - yesterday he wrote -
“Armstrong’s attack was okay. I will remember this stage all my life. Armstrong and Mayo suddenly crashed right in front of me and lay on the road. It was a big shock and I only just managed to avoid them. I looked back and saw that no-one had been seriously hurt. How fortunate, it would have been terrible, if the Tour had been decided by an accident.
"Although Lance was partially to blame because he had ridden too close to the spectators, I never thought about attacking. Good Sportsman ship is as important in cycle racing as the wheels”.
However, the “Kaiser” is as determined to win this Tour as he is a good sportsman, in today's entry he promises to fight until Paris if necessary -
“I want to win this Tour! On the rest day there has been a lot of hot air and talk about whether it was correct for me to wait for Armstrong. I stand by my actions: YES! To me cycle racing is the hardest sport. It needs this Sportsmanship! Even if Armstrong's actions of two years ago are not exactly comparable, because he had at that time a comfortable lead and this time we are both still contesting the general classification, I would do exactly the same thing again.
"However it was not right for Mayo and Zubeldia to sprint for the bonus seconds; they had never taken the lead on the climb. They do not need the seconds. They could be vital at the end of this race.
"I recall the Tour of 1989 which I followed on the television. I can still remember the look on Fignon's face, when Greg Lemond won. This year it may be as close as that. Because everyday I will be fighting for a few seconds. I want to win this Tour.
"Armstrong and I have never been this close, and I am beginning to reach my very best form. If after the time trial there are just a few seconds separating then it will be fair also to attack on Sunday. No matter whether Lance or myself is in the lead.”