Jan Ullrich will not play a role in the supporting program of the 109th Tour de France. “Nothing is planned,” said the tour organization succinctly. Where the former greats and not so greats of cycling are honored, celebrated and recognized every year around the 21 stages of the Tour of France, there is no place for the former German cycling star, even 25 years after his triumph. As if the time that went down in tour history as a dark chapter in the wake of the doping scandals had never existed.

Ullrich fascinated cycling fans not only in Germany for a decade in the duels with Lance Armstrong. “Voilà le Patron” is the headline of the tour organ “L’Équipe” after the Rostocker with the reddish blonde hair and freckles on his face irresistibly stormed up the steep ramps in Andorra-Arcalis on a summer’s day in 1997 and snatched the yellow jersey Has.

Although he is actually only the crown prince of defending champion Bjarne Riis in the Telekom team. But Ullrich is stronger, and when the Dane gives him the go, there’s no stopping him. “Those were the most beautiful moments in my life as a sports director,” says his former mentor Rudy Pevenage in retrospect. “You come back to another life. He was in demand everywhere. That changed Jan’s life. The calm was gone. It was amazing.”

Suddenly Germany is in cycling fever. Every year in July, millions of people gather in front of the television and suffer for hours with Ullrich as they climb the mountain giants in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Ullrich is everyone’s darling, the pop star on two wheels. The buddy type who likes to go over the top in winter and carries around a few extra pounds.

His talent on the bike is almost unique. Ullrich becomes Olympic champion, world champion, German champion. But he won’t win the tour again, although experts like Eddy Merckx predict five or more victories for him. A certain Lance Armstrong stands in his way. “I think that Jan was stronger than Armstrong in terms of his sporting potential,” says Pevenage. “Well, Armstrong had another character too. He focused on cycling for the whole 12 months.”

And it is Ullrich who drives Armstrong to peak performance. “He had so much talent. He scared me. This man made me get up early, he made me go to bed early,” Armstrong said in the ARD documentary “Being Jan Ullrich.” The Texan, who was obsessed and cured of cancer, wins the Tour of France seven times – with illegal means, as it later turns out. For Ullrich there is often only second place. This doesn’t change anything about its popularity.

When Armstrong quits, Ullrich wants to be on the tour throne again in 2006. A final attack for the great goal. It remains an unfulfilled wish. In Spain, the Radstar was exposed at the large-scale Operacion Puerto as a customer of the doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. Ullrich is taken out of the starting field before the tour, his T-Mobile team draws a quick line. The tragic turning point in Ullrich’s life.

Extensive investigations by the public prosecutor’s office in Bonn follow. His career ended in one fell swoop, and Ullrich will never get on his bike again as a professional athlete. However, it was only banned in 2012 by the International Court of Arbitration for Sports Cas.

Ullrich also delivers negative headlines privately. Like in 2014, when he rammed two cars in Switzerland with a blood alcohol level of 1.8 at a significantly higher speed. Ullrich gets away with a suspended sentence.

Ullrich moves to Mallorca with his wife and children, but the marriage breaks up after 13 years. The Radstar remains alone in Mallorca. A shocking video is doing the rounds. In the course of a dispute on the neighboring property of TV star Til Schweiger, he was temporarily taken into police custody. Ullrich comes back to Germany, where the next scandal occurs. In a luxury hotel in Frankfurt, there is a physical altercation with an escort lady.

Ullrich is under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Eventually, he was admitted to a psychiatric ward. Ullrich is at the bottom until his old rival Armstrong suddenly shows up. “It was scary for me. I saw a man in a place like no human being had before. (…) I had never seen one in such a condition,” said Armstrong. Ullrich recovers and later reports in Armstrong’s podcast: “I was on the way from Marco Pantani. Almost dead.”

In the meantime, Ullrich, who is now 48, lives again in the seclusion of Merdingen, close to his four children. There are plans for a bike center, including with his friend and business partner Mike Baldinger. Possibly a new mainstay for Ullrich, who avoids public appearances.