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  • Jan Ullrich

  • The Best There Never Was
  • By: Daniel Friebe
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 18 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Jan Ullrich cover art

Jan Ullrich

By: Daniel Friebe
Narrated by: Mark Meadows
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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.

Now, Daniel Friebe–who has covered twenty-one 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

What listeners say about Jan Ullrich

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

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

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2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • GW
  • 09-10-23

Narrator ruins this.

The boring delivery by the narrator makes this a chore to listen to. It's a shame because there is a lot of information about a sporting legend here. I will not be continuing beyond chapter 4.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent exploration of a complex person and time

Thank you Daniel for writing this. It's got everything, the human story, the technical aspects, genuine journalism and at its core you can sense the heart and humanity for a person (simply) journeying through (a complex) life.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A broad, deep-dive into Jan & his era in cycling

Always fascinated by the endeavours of pro cyclists and rich history (if sometimes dark) I was compelled to read. I knew of Daniel Friebe’s extensive knowledge of the sport and without any doubt he would turn every stone to ‘investigate’ and catalogue everything that happened in Jan’s life particularly between 1996 - 2006, I was not disappointed.

I have a very strong opinion of cycling dopers and the shadow they have cast on the sport over many years, but unfortunately this aspect of the sport is now part of its’ history. It was very interesting to hear about Jan’s upbringing in a changing Germany. I’d highly recommend the book to any cycling fan or a casual cyclist interested in a very recent section of it’s history.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfectly balanced

Not an easy subject to write about. But this was a light touch and sensitivity. A comprehensive insight into the nights and lows of a complex, gifted individual.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Giant of a book

It’s clear from the start that Daniel Friebe is Jan Ullrich fan (as am I) and he writes with considerable warmth for his subject. Something that no doubt allowed him access to so many of the supporting cast to Jan’s life so far. A great book and I’m glad I saw it through to the end. I just wanted to give both Jan and Daniel a hug upon finishing it!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

incredible story

one of my favourite cycling biographys. really interesting and complex life, written about really eloquently.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story About A Flawed Sports Legend

Compromised - if only slightly - by this Johann "brown ale" character! Just how much research is necessary to learn how to properly pronounce a name in comparison to that required to write an entire biography such as this!?

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic insight

Can’t wait for the film.
A great book 100% worth listening to if you’re interested in cycling

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