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When Jan Ullrich raced away from his own happiness

Et is the afternoon of July 15, 1997. The road winds its way up steep bends and ramps to Andorra. It is Jan Ullrich’s ascent to cycling heaven, a coronation mass on two wheels, the hour of birth of a pan-German sports hero. A driveway that leads to the yellow jersey and later to the Tour victory – and obviously carries the harbingers of the following crash.

It’s a monumental stage, 252.5 kilometers, five passes to finish in the ski resort of Ordino-Arcalís. 17 racers tackle the eleven-kilometer final climb together. Ullrich dismounts in the first serpentine. Only very briefly, as if he wanted to sit down properly before he blasts the race – and his life up to now with it. Ullrich looks around and drives off, completely detached. He bends his arms over the handlebars even on the steepest sections, as if he were riding against the wind on the flat. His upper body remains almost motionless, strength, endurance, pure aesthetics.

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