Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £14.99

Buy Now for £14.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

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

More from the same

What listeners say about Jan Ullrich

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narration

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Johan "Brown ale"

Very good and interesting biography. Just had to keep laughing at the pronunciation of certain names, specifically Johan Bruneel.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Brilliant

Such a well put together book! Highly recommended for any cycling fan. Truly well researched and presented. 10/10

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

intelectual and sympathetic biography a bike rider

A wonderful study of a cycling icon. This book is exhaustedly researched The author's skill as a storyteller and writer means that the reader weaves through Ulrich's life and the people in it seemlessly despite the long period that these inteeviews have been incubating. The book is all the better for the time in spent 'in the womb'

I commend the narrator. Reading the text with apparent ease and seamlessy incoperating the voices of a myriad of sources. I listened to the book in one weekend. I now am much more knowledgable about Ulrich.So have much more questions about and am much less certain of my opinion about Ulrich. A sign of a GREAT BIOGRAPHY

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tyler Landry
  • Tyler Landry
  • 09-06-22

Wonderful

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

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Keylor
  • Keylor
  • 24-06-22

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.