Lance Armstrong's touching gesture for fierce rival

Lance Armstrong jumped on a plane and headed for Germany after hearing of Jan Ullrich’s admission to hospital.

Ullrich was one of Armstrong’s fiercest rivals on the cycling circuit, but the disgraced former cycling champion put all of that aside to support his friend.

Armstrong posted a photo with Ullrich on his Instagram account, to reveal his affection for his friend who had found himself in a hard place.

“As many of ya’ll know, I love Jan Ullrich,” Armstrong wrote.

Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich in 2001 at the Tour de France. Pic: Getty

“He was such a special rival to me.

“And truly brought out the best in me.”

Armstrong was there to support his troubled former rival, describing the 1997 Tour de France champion as a friend who “scared and motivated me”.

His remarks accompanied a picture of the two men embracing beside a swimming pool.

“Pure class on the bike,” wrote Armstrong.

“Fast forward to today and my friend is going through a rough patch. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come to Germany to spend a few days with him.

“Please keep Jan in all of your thoughts and prayers. He needs our support right now.”

Ullrich was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after his brief detention for allegedly assaulting a prostitute.

The 44-year-old was released on bail pending an investigation for possible attempted manslaughter.

That run-in with the law came just a week after his 24-hour detention in Spain, where he had sought to force his way into the Mallorca home of his neighbour, German actor Til Schweiger, and threatened him.

with AFP.