Ten years ago, Linus Gerdemann won a stage of the Tour de France at Le Grand Bornand and took the yellow jersey. It came a year after Jan Ullrich was snared by the Operacion Puerto investigation and prevented from starting the Tour when Germany was looking for a new hero. Gerdemann was immediately hailed as Germany’s next big hope and the face of the T-Mobile team.
But T-Mobile was on the verge of withdrawing from cycling and Gerdemann did not turn out to be the next Jan Ullrich. Gerdemann’s career coincided with Germany falling out of love with professional cycling. The national broadcasters stopped showing the Tour and the boom created by Ullrich’s Tour win in 1997 turned to bust..
As the Tour de France prepares about to get underway in Düsseldorf, Daniel Friebe met up with Gerdemann near his adopted home in Majorca to talk about the pressure of expectation and how his career never quite matched the heights of that memorable victory in the Alps.
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