His biggest goal is beating Lance Armstrong in the Tour - so Jan Ullrich tries everything.

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His biggest goal is beating Lance Armstrong in the Tour - so Jan Ullrich tries everything. He even sleeps in a tent.

No joke, the T-mobile star carries his biggest secret in a little suitcase. In training camps or before a race, he unpacks the tent and sleeps in it. There he has a very special, peaceful sleep - altitude training while sleeping. A specially developed generator takes in air and removes some of the oxygen and sends this low oxygen air into the tent. Inside the tent because like the air at altitude. He can adjust the generator so that he is at the equivalent of 2000 to 3500 meters, explained the team doctor, Lothar Heinrich. The effect is the same consequences as being at altitude. While sleeping, Ulrich's body adjusts to the low oxygen air. Heinrich: " In this environment, his body builds more red blood cells which are responsible for transporting oxygen through the body. When he then gets on his bike and trains in the normal environment, his body is stronger."

Additionally, his lungs become more trained, his heart rate increases and his body produces more blood." Studies have shown that performance improvements of 3%. That doesn't sound like much, but in the mountains it could mean the difference required to beat Armstrong. In the 2003 tour, after 3402.5 Kilometers, Ullrich was only 61 seconds behind Armstrong. Armstrong took 83:41:12 hours to go the distance. Ullrich was only 0.02% slower. With the tent effect, he could beat him.

In his house in Scherzingen, Ullrich has a whole room built as an altitudetraining room. (it cost him 20,000 Euro) There he also rides his bike for 2 hours at altitude to further improve the effects. When traveling, he takes the tent from CAT-Deutschland (this model cost 6500 euro). Also, colleague Alexander Vinokourov uses altitude training. Only during the tour will the suitcase with the tent stay at home. Heinrich: " it would be too strenuous on his body. Plus, Ullrich will be at real altitude when he's in the Alps and Pyrenees." Plus, he is already perfectly prepared.