“I Had Big Problems” – Jan Ullrich Reveals How Old Rival Lance Armstrong’s Visit Saved His Life

Published 10/07/2021, 12:45 PM EDT
SACRAMENTO, CA – MAY 15: Lance Armstrong of the USA and riding for Team Radio Shack looks on as he pepares for a training ride in preparation for the 2010 Tour of California on May 15, 2010 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


During the early 2000s, Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich were the fiercest of rivals in cycling. They always featured near the top of the timesheets in various editions of the Tour de France, competing for the coveted yellow jersey on more than one occasion.

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However, their careers and lives took an unexpected turn in 2012. Both cyclists saw their careers end because of doping bans. Despite that, they looked out for each other, with Ullrich recalling a major role Armstrong played in his life.

Jan Ullrich recalls how a meeting with Lance Armstrong saved him

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Recently, Armstrong and Ullrich appeared on The Move podcast where they spoke about various topics. During their chat, Ullrich mentioned how he had massive problems two years ago. He then added that Armstrong meeting him helped his life for the better.

He said“Two years ago, I had big problems. You come and visit me and I’m so happy that you come. I was on the same way as Marco Pantani, nearly dead. And then I recover and I have good friends … friends bringing me back to life and now I’m very happy.”

The 47-year-old also mentioned how he currently lives his life, which includes biking on a regular basis. “God gave me this body and God gave me this talent and then I’m nothing or full gas … I train every day good, I drink water. I stopped alcohol, drugs three years ago. I live very healthy, my girlfriend’s cooking very healthily for me.

“And this altogether brings me in good shape and a good feeling … I forgot for a long time what is good for me.”

Ullrich won two Olympic medals in his cycling career

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While Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, Ullrich achieved more success than the American on the Olympic stage. He won a gold medal in the road race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics along with a silver medal in the time trial event. Ullrich also won the Tour de France in 1997.

Meanwhile, Armstrong won a bronze medal in the time trial event in Sydney, finishing behind Ullrich. His biggest claim to fame was winning seven Tour de France titles in a row, from 1999 to 2005.

BOURNE, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 06: Lance Armstrong attends the 2011 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge on August 6, 2011 in Bourne, Massachusetts. (Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images)

After receiving doping bans, Armstrong was stripped of his victories and returned his Olympic medal. However, Ullrich refused to return his Olympic medals as his victories in Sydney stand to this date.

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Sanket Nair

770 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 & US Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He began following F1 since 2010, which made him an instant Sebastian Vettel fan. His favorite tracks on the calendar include Spa-Francorchamps, Monaco and Monza.

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