'I was almost dead': Jan Ullrich speaks out on his recovery on Lance Armstrong's podcast

The former Tour de France winner spoke about how finding friends in Armstrong and others after re-adopting a healthy lifestyle

Lance Armstrong with Jan Ullrich on the on the 2005 Tour de France podium
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jan Ullrich has spoken out about how he was close to suffering the same fate as Marco Pantani, saying that he was "almost dead" when Lance Armstrong went to see him in 2018.

Ullrich, who's career was tarnished by a doping scandal, spoke about his history of issues with alcohol and drugs that led to alleged physical attacks but now he feels "very happy", as he's cycling with a healthy diet.

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Speaking in Armstrong's podcast, The Move (opens in new tab), in Mallorca along with George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel, Ullrich said: "Three years ago I had big problems and then you came to see me. I was so glad you came and yes, I was just like Marco Pantani. Almost dead. And then I recover and I have good friends, now I am very happy.”  

The German spoke about how he is back cycling again with his new healthy lifestyle: “God gave me this body and God gave me this talent. With me it's either nothing or full throttle. I have my coach for my back muscles. I train every day and drink water. I live very healthy, my girlfriend cooks very healthy for me."

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Ullrich said that he had forgotten what was good for him "for 20 or 15 years," with the rejuvenated lifestyle and cycling helping him recover from his addiction problems.

"Cycling is good," he continued. "Hang-out with friends. Love. My children. My family. I had forgotten all that. That was my problem."

Ullrich was runner-up to Armstrong at the Tour de France three times between 2000 and 2003, with Ullrich also taking third in 2005. The latter was struck off due to doping, as were all seven of Armstrong's titles.

Armstrong, when introducing Ullrich to the show, gave the 47-year-old German huge praise saying: "He's a very special person. Not just a great guy but he's been a great friend and I've tried to be a great friend to him.

"He was our biggest rival, he was the guy that got us up every day, I didn't care about anybody else. All these other guys that thought they were contenders, they were straight-up pretenders."

Ullrich podiumed at the Tour seven times including one victory in 1997 when he beat Richard Virenque and the late Marco Pantani.

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