• Jan Ullrich

  • The Best There Never Was
  • By: Daniel Friebe
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 18 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was is the first biography of Jan Ullrich, arguably the most naturally talented cyclist of his generation, and also one of the most controversial champions of the Tour de France.

In 1997, Jan Ullrich announced himself to the world by obliterating his rivals in the first mountain stage of the Tour de France. So awesome was his display that it sent shockwaves throughout the world of cycling and invited headlines such as L’Équipe’s ‘The New Giant’. He went on to become Germany’s first ever Tour winner, storming to victory in that edition by almost 10 minutes, a result that was greeted as an era-defining changing of the guard. Everyone agreed: Jan Ullrich was the future of cycling. He was soon also voted Germany’s most popular sportsperson of all time, and his rivalry with Lance Armstrong defined the most controversial years of the Tour de France.

Ullrich was a German national treasure credited with popularizing cycling in his home country. And yet—for all the acres of coverage he received throughout his career, and the interest in Ullrich as the only person who had seemed capable of knocking Armstrong off his perch—the boy from East Germany remained an enigma. Now, Daniel Friebe—who has covered 21 editions of the Tour de France—has gone in search of the man who was said in 1997 would go on to dominate his sport for a generation, but never quite managed it.

Just what did happen to the best who never was?

This is a gripping account of how unbearable expectation, mental and physical fragility, the effects of a complicated childhood, a morally corrupt sport and one individual—Lance Armstrong—can conspire to reroute destiny. Daniel Friebe takes us from the legacy of East Germany’s drugs programme to the pinnacle of pro cycling and asks: what price can you give sporting immortality?

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Daniel Friebe (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

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What listeners say about Jan Ullrich

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Wonderful

Daniel does a great job telling a beautiful story, unbiased. Captivating and Interesting. Worth the listen

1 person found this helpful

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Not an Autobiography, struggle to get through

I was hoping this would be the real deal I love the author but this just doesn’t work it’s a cobbled together mess of stories from random people and without the main person Jan even being interviewed. Much of it has been said many times and you can see why it too so long if you do but it you could skip to the epilogue which is the most interesting part.

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Suspected but now confirmed

Daniel has done a great job of giving a great overview of Jan’s life. I followed Jan and Armstrong close back in the day. But Daniel’s work was able to explain and layout what was really happening and why. I liked Jan before, but now have even more respect for him.

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One of the best cycling books ever

This is a wonderful book not just about cycling but about Germany and it’s complex identity both post-WW2 and post-unification. The detail and the care taken by Friebe is fantastic given Ulrich’s difficult life on and off the bike.

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  • Notadwarf
  • 06-26-22

Ruined by the narrator.

Written, this is a master piece. Read, it is awful and unlistenable. The actor reading this just doesn’t bring the words to life. I’d much prefer the author’s voice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-22

Disappointing

Was looking forward to this but found the narrative too slow / repetitive. Narrator poor too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-20-22

Simplistic

Very little poignant insight into sports washing and doping in the DDR. Terrible narrator. Not sure if I can be bothered venturing beyond chapter 3. Wasted purchase.

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  • Raythebike.
  • 09-13-22

A difficult but compelling story.

I found the essence of the book was a well researched history of German sporting ethics with Ullrich as the main character. The pronunciations were a distraction with Bruyneel coming out as brown ale and place and such with a non anglicised accent. It must have been difficult book to pull together with most references historical information. As a reader/listener, you still had to finish to learn about his years following retirement.

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  • Nathaniel Williams
  • 08-27-22

Great writing….Poor Narration

Fantastic autobiography of one of the most confusing Sportstars of my life. Would recommend the book to anyone interested in cycling. However the narration is terrible. The narrator has not even tried to look up how to pronounce place names or peoples names that are not English. Don’t know how the producers allowed this to happen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-22

In-depth analysis and well written

Well written and easy to sink into, I would recommend this bio to anyone who wants to understand more than the mesosphere headlines about this whole period in cycling’s history.

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  • Michael Clements
  • 08-19-22

Excellent biography

Great detailed research has gone into this biography. A sorry tale of a wonderful talent. Chapeau Daniel Friebe

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  • Filip
  • 08-12-22

Super interesting

Mixed emotions towards Jan after listening to the book. Sympathy on a human level at the same time there is always an excuse, there was always someone else influencing, when he is the common denominator.

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  • theblueboy
  • 08-01-22

Good, but required patience at times

A very well researched and balanced book, with plenty of insights for cycling fans. However, it is slow and there is much repetition and in my view some needless digression. Overall, I mostly enjoyed this audiobook since I am a big cycling fan and find Ullrich a compelling figure. This book will probably satisfy most other cycling nuts but I wouldn’t recommend it to more casual fans.

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  • William Rymer
  • 07-24-22

Narration

I'm going to have to buy the book. It is a bit hard to listen to.

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  • brigham milne
  • 08-18-22

Utterly brilliant…

…from first to last, thank you Daniel, a master stroke of the highest order, well wishes to Jan

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