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Germany

Ullrich Irked by Tour de France Changes

Germany's former Tour de France winner and frequent runner-up Jan Ullrich has hit out at the race's organizers for reducing the number of time trials in the three-week epic race. The 30-year-old T-Mobile rider, who won the Tour in 1997 and come runner-up five times, is a time trial specialist who in previous years would have looked to the discipline to put time on his rivals. Next year the Tour will feature one less time trial than usual when it begins with a 19km time trial instead of the usual introductory, shorter prologue, which is also a race against the clock. Despite praising the organizers' decision to run the race through his native Germany for two days, the former Olympic time trial champion in Sydney said reducing the time trial opportunities was not to his liking. "Of course I appreciate that (the towns of) Karlsruhe and Pforzheim will feature on the race again. But I don't like the fact there are less time trials," he told Tuesday's edition of Berlin-based Tageszeitung newspaper. Ullrich has not won the Tour since record six-time winner Lance Armstrong made his comeback in 1999 after recovering from cancer, although when he rode for the Bianchi team in 2003 Ullrich finished a close second at only a minute behind the US Postal rider. (AFP)