Cyclist Jan Ullrich panned over admission to doping

German faces further scrutiny after admitting what we already knew - that he is a drug cheat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 3:41am


Germany's only Tour de France winner, Jan Ullrich, faces further investigation after finally admitting he doped with the help of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Ullrich, 39, who won the 1997 Tour, said he "had access to treatment from Fuentes" but insisted he used no other substance than his own blood.

In April, a Spanish court jailed Fuentes for a year for performing blood transfusions on top cyclists.

"At that time, nearly everyone was using doping substances and I used nothing that the others were not using," Ullrich said.

He now wants to put his doping past behind him, but Germany's Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) has already said it would investigate.

"For the sport to be clean, it is important that he not only admits his crime, but also mentions the names of other participants in the background," Nada said.

The German's confession comes six months after former rival Lance Armstrong admitted doping throughout his career and was banned for life, as well as being stripped of his seven Tour titles.

Likewise, Ullrich's results have also been erased from the history books after finishing second to Armstrong three times in the Tour.

Having retired from cycling in 2007, all the while insisting he never cheated, Ullrich was found guilty of a doping offence by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February 2012.

He was banned in August that year, with results since May 2005 erased, but for many in Germany his confession has been too little, too late.

"For a truly credible confession, Jan Ullrich had his opportunity a few years ago," said Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Federation.

"He missed his chance and now, as far as I am concerned, he is trying to work with some rhetorical manoeuvres, which helps neither him nor the sport of cycling."

Ullrich was barred from the 2006 Tour de France due to speculation that he had used illegal substances and Rudolf Scharping, president of the German Cycling Federation, said the confession should have come five years ago.

"It is far too late to try to clean things up," he said of the cyclist who retired in February, 2007, denying that he had ever cheated. "He could have helped the sport of cycling if he had laid everything out on the table much earlier. 2007 or 2008 would have been an appropriate time.

"He would have also been able to help himself, but now this is just the repetition of things long-since known, except this time they come from his mouth."

Anti-doping campaigner Werner Franke, who received a gagging order in 2006 by a German court after accusing Ullrich of doping, said the cyclist had set "a new European record in lying".

Franke has insisted Ullrich used aggressive tactics, similar to Armstrong, in order to keep any opponents silent and was scathing of the lawyers who helped him maintain the silence.

"These are the biggest crooks who have gotten him into this mess of lies," Franke said.

But Ullrich has received some support from his old rival Armstrong.

"Jan Ullrich? Warm hearted. Amazing athlete. Great competitor. Loved toeing the line with you my friend," tweeted the Texan.