The fallen german cycling star admitted to "contact" with doping doctor fuentes, as well as "immense" public pressure – but no more than that. In a statement, the 38-year-old did not reveal details of the visits to the spanish doctor. They had caused the international sports court CAS to impose a two-year ban and to annul all results from may 2005 onwards. Also no word on possible offenses in the time before – ullrich has missed another chance.
Doping juggernaut werner franke, who himself had been litigating against ullrich for years, considers the statements "insubstantial" and a "laughable attempt to put a lid on the affair."The former telekom signboard failed to shed light on the affair by telling the truth. "I still see this as completely inadequate," franke told the dpa news agency.
Fritz sorgel has a similar opinion, pointing out that the word doping does not appear once in ullrich’s declaration. "That’s what distinguishes the rough athlete from the normal cheater," says the pharmacologist from nurnberg. "He doped for years. To say goodbye now with a sorry is of course relatively little."
In his statement, which he had been announcing for months, ullrich admitted twelve hours after the CAS verdict: "I confirm that I had contact with fuentes. I know that this was a serious mistake that I regret very much. I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone for this behavior – I am very sorry. In retrospect, I have acted differently in some situations during my career."
These words are far away from a clear confession. Just the day before, the president of the german olympic sports confederation (DOSB), thomas bach, demanded a clear confession. Nothing came of it, emphasized dagmar freitag (SPD), chairwoman of the bundestag sports committee: "this declaration was absolutely disappointing, but no surprise to me. Jan ullrich has missed the very last chance to regain some credibility, because he failed to clear the air."
For years, ullrich had denied doping and had not commented on the affair. The only phrase that came out of his mouth was "I have never cheated anyone". He did not break his silence on decisive details in his declaration either. "The decision of the CAS underlines that the decision of the team management in 2006 to part with jan ullrich was the right one", says a statement of his former employer telekom.
For the only german tour-de-france winner, however, the chapter of professional cycling should be over. "I hereby draw a line under the matter," declared ullrich. He will not succeed in the opinion of werner franke. Both the CAS ruling and ullrich’s reaction will provoke further investigation and research, franke said. "Piece by piece everything will come out."
This could hardly have any sporting consequences for ullrich as a retired professional cyclist. The optional swiss said: "I have never thought of returning to active professional cycling in any capacity."After the CAS ruling, he would have had to wait until he was 21 years old. August 2013 also not possible. Until then, the ban for blood doping, of which ullrich was guilty with eufemiano fuentes according to the lausanne court, was still in effect.
It is not yet clear whether the verdict will cost ullrich even more financially. The court had already ordered him to reimburse the UCI for 10,000 euros of the legal costs. Whether race organizers or sponsors will now also demand money was an open question immediately after the CAS ruling and ullrich’s statement. The telekom at least will refrain. "There will be no claim for damages from telekom to jan ullrich because of the CAS ruling," a spokesman said in response to a question on friday evening.
When the affair was exposed shortly before the 2006 tour de france, ullrich was kicked off the squad by his T-mobile racing team – his retirement from professional cycling followed in february of the next year. "Even then, shortly after my suspension, I wanted to publicly admit the mistake I had made, but my hands were tied," ullrich claimed. His lawyers had persuaded him to remain silent on the subject.
What exactly happened with fuentes, the native of rostock did not reveal even now, but cryptically and imprecisely his reasons for a cooperation with the physician. "I wanted to give it my all again for the 2006 tour. After my tour victory in 1997 and five second bursts, the pressure of the public, the sponsors and also my own pressure was immense. Everyone wanted a second tour victory, especially after lance armstrong’s retirement."