Telekom confirms Ullrich positive




Telekom confirms Ullrich positive
By VeloNews Interactive
This report filed July 3, 2002

Jan Ullrich's Telekom team confirmed Wednesday that the 1997 Tour de France winner had indeed failed an out-of-competition drug test in May.

Responding to reports by the wire service Deutsche Presse Agentur that Ullrich allegedly tested positive for amphetamine at an out-of-competition control during his recent recovery from knee surgery, Telekom boss Walter Godefroot confirmed the test and said the result from the second 'B' sample was not yet known.

Just a week ago Ullrich vowed to begin training this week less than a month after undergoing surgery on his troublesome knee.

The 28-year-old Olympic road race champion and four time Tour de France runner-up had aimed to return to action in the Vuelta a España in September.

Ullrich's time-off this season has already been marred by a drunk-driving incident in May, in which he was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and hit-and-run, after he backed into a bicycle rack and then left the scene. A local judge fined him an amount equal to two-and-a-half months wages - not an insubstantial sum in his case - and suspended his license for a year.

Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc said the positive test was the mark of "a disturbed man".

"I'm surprised and very disappointed," Leblanc told the French wire service AFP. "You have to ask why an athlete who is not competing needs to take drugs."

"I'm disappointed because if it's confirmed that it was a substance close to amphetamines that's probably connected to a moral crisis which relates to what we were told by Ullrich when he had his drunk driving accident."

The German anti-doping commission president Ulrich Haas said he was "unable to confirm nor deny the positive test".

Leblanc was at pains not to close the Tour de France door on Ullrich once this affair is over.

"If he's done something wrong obviously he'll be punished. Once his punishment is over the Tour de France will deal with Ullrich like it dealt with the others, I'm thinking in particular here of Richard Virenque."

Virenque is back in the peloton despite admitting in court to systematic doping while with Festina.
Jan Ullrich has accepted his positive test for amphetamine that was taken on June 12 at a rehabilitation clinic in Bad Wiessee, and will not be requesting analysis of his B sample. He had until midnight last night to make a decision about whether to take it, but decided to "skip the B test." Ullrich gave a press conference on Saturday in Frankfurt, where he revealed the cause of the positive test.

He said that the evening before the test was taken, he had been out with a few friends and "had a few drinks". Someone gave him two tablets and he had taken them without thinking.

"It was a stupidity, and inexcusable," he said. "I likewise have to say that it was nothing to do with improving my performance. In all the years of my career I have never tried banned substances to do this. I can't let that sit on me."

He is likely to be suspended between 6 and 12 months as a result, and the German federation has initiated a procedure against him. Also, he may face a civil case, as possession of amphetamine is illegal under German law.

About his contract with the team for the future, he doesn't know. "We've had good conversations, I've had support. We can't exactly say anything about that yet," he added.

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