The appoitment was scheduled for March 31, 11 'o clock for the media people. A
press conference was called at the business – and presentation premises of the company at Lake Constance. Two camera
teams, the ZDF, a few Cycling magzines attended but the regional press was present as well.
Mister Michael Stehle, founder and managing director of the Terra-S company chime
in, welcomed the guests, explained the course of events and asked the attendant journalists not to speak about doping and
everything related with that issue.
After a short introduction about the history of the company and a presentation
of the Tera-S products we were allowed to kick off.
Cyclingheroes: Welcome in Germany. We are glad to see that you and sara
returned safely from South Africa. You have carefully considered your retirement, which you anounced in February. We would
like to thank you for 15 wonderful years and emotional moments in pro cycling. Because of your presence, your victories and
your defeats, the success of Pantani and Armstrong became their proper glance.
Jan Ullrich & Michael Stehle: Thank you for the kind words.
Cyclingheroes: About your future Jan, how did the collaboration with Terra-S
start and how does the cooperation with the company looks like? Which responsibilities and projects do you look after?
Michael Stehle: The cooperation with Jan happened out of sympathy. With
our innovative products we want to enter a new market, the one in bike sports. Thereby we think rather not about pro cycling
but about ordinary people who are riding by bike. Our products, which we developed here in Owingen in the nineties, are serially
used by the car industry. We have the same goals in the bike industry, who could represent us better, as an advertising and
test partner than Jan Ullrich? He still draws a lot of sympathy and attention beyond just German borders. His job is , beside
Marketing strategies, to test [our products]. He can tell us what makes the product good, what is not so good, just as he
can insert some experience values to create a package for mobile use. We are happy that we have found a skilled representative
with Jan Ullrich.
Jan Ullrich: At first, Hello! My job is to optimize the products in the
field of application. I will take them with me when I am riding my bike and will test to find out where there there is room
for improvement. Because of the longtime contacts that I made during my active career I will be able to give a lot of impulses
to establish the products in the market.
Cyclingheroes: When will the bikeproducts be introduced on the market?
Michael Stehle: We have 2 kind of products, for one the prophylatical Bike
tyre prevention so no puncture will occur and a help-set if a puncture still did happen. It will be introduced before this
Cyclingheroes: Jan, how was your trip to South-Africa? What kind of obligations
did you have there and which former cyclists did you meet ? Did Sara did some bike riding with you?
Jan Ullrich: The Argus-Tour is one of the biggest charity events of the
world, about 40.000 people take part. The distance was 110 kilometers, Sara did not ride them with me but she did accompany
me very often on the bike. We raised money to build schools and facilities for children. Greg Lemond was at Argus to work
for his charity fund. Unfortunally Miguel Indurain had to cancel for private reasons, he was there a couple of times in the
years before. The contact with the enthusiast local population was fantastic. Everywhere we came, we were very welcome.
Cyclingheroes: A question about your bike brand, which you founded with
your brother in law Tobias Steinhauser. How does your participation looks like, where are the frames produced and which components
are being used?
Jan Ullrich: The bikes are completly carbon produced in a bike smithy in
Italy who produces everything by handcraft. A highquality trademark is important for me. The customer can choose his components
just as the size of his frame. We also produce customized bikes. We don't use products from the far east [Jan meant from Hong
Kong, Taiwan or China]. I personally test the bikes, for me the stiffness of the frame is very important. It's very important
to me to produce a good bike.
Cyclingheroes: How does your sports ambitions look like?
Jan Ullrich: I don't have any exact plans. Maybe I will run a marathon or
do a triathlon, maybe even with my wife but a comeback as a professional cyclist is not to be considered, I left that cruelty
behind me. What I do now, happens because of my love for the sport. I am an atlethe with heart and soul and it will always
stay that way.
Cyclingheroes: Do you still have contact with your former pro-cycling colleagues
Jan Ullrich: To my friends in that business yes, not with the others.
Cyclingheroes: Do you want to stay at Scherzingen [Switzerland]?
Jan Ullrich: Yes I feel at home there and to close to my friends and family
is very important to me, just like being close to my new business partners like Terra-S. Beside the German office at Owingen,
Lake Constance, they have their headquarters at Kreuzlingen [Switzerland].
Cyclingheroes: What is the state of affairs concerning your farewell gala,
is it already known where it will be held? Is it possible that you will found a memorial race similar like Miguel Indurain
does in his homecountry ?
Jan Ullrich: I would like to pass that question on to my manager Wolfgang
Strohband. I just returned from South-Africa and did not have the time to deal with those issues.
Wolfgang Strohband: We are working on both plans. It will be in one of the
major german cities. We will give due notice about the date and the location.
Jan Ullrich: I have a lot of thoughts at the moment how I want to be engaged
and in a few weeks you will read and hear concrete new things of me. The ideas have to get rhyme and reason now.
Cyclingheroes: Jan thanks for the conversation and we wish you all the best
for your future.
Jan Ullrich: I would like to thank you as well, take care!
This interview was done by Susanne Götze