Any cyclist who has ever followed pro cycling is guaranteed, at some point, to identify with a particular rider. Long ago, I identified myself with Jan Ullrich. Like him, I gain weight in the off-season. Like him, I don’t go in for the fast attacks, preferring to eat at rivals’ leads a little at a time. Like him, I have won the Tour de France, but only once.
One statement in the above paragraph may be an embellishment.
Anyway, you can imagine I became curious when earlier this week I read this in Cyclingnews:
The ‘Jan Ullrich Team’ announced the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the cyclist “will discuss the past and will give the good news about his professional future.”
Reporters shouldn’t expect too much, though: “Please be aware that Jan Ullrich will not answer any questions.”
“The good news about his professional future?” Well, that’s just begging for speculation, isn’t it?
So fine. I’ll speculate.
The Easy Guesses
There are two really obvious things Jan could be saying at this press conference. One of them would be interesting, and the other one would suck:
- Interesting: Ullrich’s got himself a team, and he’s planning on winning every race on planet Earth this year.
- Suck: Ullrich doesn’t have a team and has stopped trying to find one. He’s retiring from pro cycling so he can focus full time on modeling jackets that look like they came from the set of Michael Jackson’s Thriller:
(By the way, Jan: I’m only telling you this because I don’t want you to hear it from someone else, but…that jacket doesn’t have a particularly slimming effect on you.)
It doesn’t take much in the way of deductive prowess to assert that in this press conference, Jan will either say he’s racing or he’s not. But certainly, that can’t be all there is to it, right? I mean, he’s already not racing; it doesn’t take much of a press conference to say that he’s going to continue to not race (although that does in fact give me a terrific idea for my next Fake News Service). If he’s racing, who with? If he’s not racing, what’s he doing instead?
Or maybe he’s going to surprise us with something completely out of left field.
These, as I see them, are the most awesome possible outcomes of Monday’s press conference:
- New Career in Pro Cycling: This Monday, Jan will announce that he is launching his career as a professional endurance mountain biker, focusing on 24-Hour and 100-mile events. “It’s time someone brought some serious game to this sport,” Ullrich will be quoted as saying. “For my first races, I will be entering the 2007 Leadville 100 and the 24 Hours of Moab, Solo Class.” Elsewhere in the world, Tinker Juarez and Floyd Landis simultaneously and spontaneously self-combust.
- Wants to Spend More Time With His Hair: In early 2006, Jan was clearly poised to take the world by storm, not just with his riding ability, but with a hairstyle unmatched by anyone in the post-Cipollini era. And then he was robbed. This Monday, Ullrich will announce that he has taken his hair to the next level. He will announce that his hair is race-ready and faster than ever before.
- Exciting Announcement About the Jan Ullrich Bike Line: Oh, you didn’t know there’s such a thing as Jan Ullrich bikes? Well, there are. And, frankly, they’re pretty darned sexy-looking (except for the Olymp, which looks like a mountain bike). Anyway, on Monday, Jan will announce that Trek has acquired the Ullrich bike line. Elsewhere in the world, Lance Armstrong and Greg Lemond simultaneously and spontaneously self-combust.
- Announces Intention to Become Full-Time Keirin Racer in Japan: Noting that he always has had trouble keeping the weight off during the off-season, Jan has decided he will no longer have an off-season, by becoming a professional Keirin racer in Japan, where he will race on a daily basis for the popular gambling-fueled Japanese racing industry, much as if he were a racehorse. Elsewhere in the world, every Keirin racer spontaneously self-combusts.
- Challenges Lance Armstrong to a 1-on-1 Race Across America: “Lance, let’s find out once and for all who’s the strongest. Just you and me, from California to New York. No teams, no support. First one across the finish line wins.” Elsewhere in the world, a certain fat cyclist starts giggling uncontrollably.
Of course, I’m just one guy, with one guy’s opinion. Of course, it’s an extremely well-formed and insightful opinion, but there is at least a tiny chance that I’m not spot-on.
So that’s where you come in.
Tell me what you think Ullrich will be announcing this Monday — either what you think he’ll really be saying, or what you wish he’d be saying.
I’ll hand out fatcyclist.com email accounts to five random people who get the answer right, and to another five people who get the answer wrong, but entertainingly so.
PS: Today’s weight: 164.0 (I skip the grapefruit for one night and gain half a pound?)