Bikes vs. The World: Round #5 – Jan Ullrich vs. Lars Ulrich

Dec 6 2005

Now we’re talking. The drummer of one of the all-time great metal bands versus the eternal challenger for the TdF title. Both German-born, both constantly disappointing me, both with the same last name. Oh, yeah, this is a gonna be a good one, folks. Far better than these other whimpy fights.

Category Bike Culture:
Jan Ullrich
Pop Culture:
Lars Ulrich
Claim to Fame: Bicycle racer, 1997 TdF winner, 5-time runner-up Metal drummer, 7-time Grammy winner Lars; As crappy as Grammys are, he’s won a lot
Supporting Cast: Telekom/T-Mobile (1996-2002, 2004-present), Coast/Bianchi (2003) Metallica (1981-1995), whimpier band with same name/members (1996-present) Jan; allegedly, it took a crit of 60 for any other Telekom rider to win the TdF
Biggest Fans: Germans, who apparently like him enough to spit on Jens Voight 30-somethings who lost touch before the sellout, teenagers who don’t know any better Lars; Spitting on Jens Voight is a sin, and the black album (Metallica, 1999) was awesome
Low Moment: Testing positive for ecstacy, getting arrested for drunk driving, losing the ’98 TdF because he didn’t feel like riding in the rain, getting too fat in the off-season Leading the fight of successful, millionaire artists against P2P file sharing, then offering legal assistance to Beatles copyright infringers Jan; he may have done more bad stuff, but, to modify a cliché, he never tried to have his cake. He only ate it. Repeatedly.
Significant Other: Sara Steinhauser, teammate’s sister. Connie Nielsen, Danish actress Lars; c’mon, who dates their teammate’s sister?
Former Significant Other: Gaby, ex-girlfriend, one child Skylar Satenstein, ex-wife, two children Jan; they tell me marriage is a sacred institution
Evil Nemesis: Rain, Lance Armstrong “Real” Metallica fans, file-sharing enthusiasts Jan; Lance Armstrong is one hell of an evil nemisis to have
Most Effectively Spoofed With: Playmobil figurines Flash cartoons Lars; His nasal ranting spun off an entire series of online aminations
Window of Cultural Relevance: 1993-present (starting with World Amateur Road Title) 1984-2003 (St. Anger was an ok effort) Draw; it will be interesting to see if Jan can hold on for 6 more years
Lasting Contribution to Society: A foil to Lance Armstrong, showing that despite immense talent, you will always lose to someone who’s willing work harder Any number of hard hitting, musically complex, but lyrically unsound rock metal classics Lars; it’s a tough call, but I really like “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Man, another close one. 5-4 in favor of Ulrich with one “l”, and all because I feel in the arc of Lance Armstrong’s career, cancer and his own earlier laziness were his true antagonists, not the big German. If only Jan had been able to beat Lance in 2003. Then the last two Tours might have been worth watching, and (more importantly) Jan might have won this contest. It should be noted that in an actual fight, Jan would most likely destroy Lars, due to his massive height advantage over the drummer.

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