Tour de France Winner Admits To Doping

Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, during an interview with German weekly Focus has admitted for the first time that he received blood doping treatment from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

In the past, Ullrich had previously acknowledged having unspecified “contact” with Fuentes and said he couldn’t remember how many times he had received treatment from Fuentes. The cyclist from Germany said that while he had made bad decisions during his career, he did not harm or defraud anyone and added that almost everyone took performance-enhancing substances then. Ullrich added that for him fraud starts when he gains an advantage and that wasn’t the case and he wanted to ensure equality of opportunities. The rider added that he only wants to look forward, and never again backward.

The 39-year-old Ullrich, in the interview, said he had access to treatment from Fuentes but insisted using no other substance than his own blood. The doctor was jailed for a year by a Spanish court in April 2013 for performing blood transfusions on top cyclists. The 1997 Tour de France winner said nearly everyone at that time was using doping substances and he used nothing that the others were not using. Ulrich now wants to put his doping past behind him, but Germany’s Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has already said it will investigate. The anti-doping agency said it is important that Ulrich not only admits his crime, but also mentions the names of other participants in the background for the sport to be clean.

Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Federation, remarked Jan Ullrich had his opportunity a few years ago or a truly credible confession and he missed his chance and now, as far as I am concerned, he’s trying to work with some rhetorical maneuvers, which helps neither him nor the sport of cycling. Rudolf Scharping, president of the German Cycling Federation, said the confession by Ulrich should have come five years ago and added that it is far too late to try and clean things up and he could have helped the sport of cycling if he had laid everything out on the table much earlier.

The German cyclist’s confession comes six months after US cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted doping throughout his career and was banned for life, as well as being stripped of his seven Tour titles. The results of Jan Ullrich have also been erased from the history books after finishing second to Lance Armstrong three times in the Tour. In February 2012, Jan Ullrich was found guilty of a doping offense by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It was ruled that Ullrich was “fully engaged” in the doping program of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, exposed in the Operation Puerto probe. Ullrich was stripped by the court of his third-place finish at the 2005 Tour and after a while, Ullrich retired in 2007. The cyclist was retroactively banned in August 2012 and all of his results since May 2005 were erased.

The cyclist received support from an unexpected quarter with Lance Armstrong tweeting, “Jan Ullrich? Warm hearted. Amazing athlete. Great competitor. Loved toeing the line with you my friend.”

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