Berlin - Jan Ullrich, Germany's only winner of the Tour de France, has for the
first time admitted to doping with the help of Spanish doctor Eufemiano
Fuentes who ran a large-scale doping network.
"Yes, I had access
to treatment from Fuentes," the 1997 winner of the Tour de France told
German weekly Focus in its edition to appear on Monday.
"At that time, nearly everyone was using doping substances and I used nothing that the others were not using."
the Focus report, Ullrich has insisted he used no other doping
substance other than his own blood, presumably with transfusions to
combat the effects of lactic acid.
Ullrich, who also won road race
gold and time-trial silver medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney,
said he was motivated by the desire to be competing on a level playing
field with his main rivals.
"In my view you can only call it cheating on my part when it is clear that I have gained an unfair advantage," he argued.
"That was not the case. All I wanted was everyone to have the same chances of winning."
also told Focus he believed that the main factors contributing towards
his success in cycling were pure talent, effort, team spirit and the
will to win and that the damage he had done by doping was mainly to
"It was myself who suffered most because of this episode
as concerns my public image and what it meant for my own health," he
"Now it is time to bring down the curtain on all of this. I
want to look to the future and no longer be dragged back to the past."
doping admission comes months after a similar public pronouncement by
his greatest career rival and nemesis Lance Armstrong.
seven-time Tour de France winner, admitted to doping throughout his
career in January and was subsequently stripped of his Tour titles and
banned for life.
Ullrich finished second three times to Armstrong
in the Tour de France in 2000, 2001 and 2003 and was also runner-up
behind Italian Marco Pantani in 1998.
"We are both guilty," said Ullrich, referring to the American. "I am no better than Armstrong, but no worse either.
great heroes of old are now people with failings that we've got to come
to terms with. I always knew that even Lance Armstrong would not get
away with it."
But Ullrich's confession has been branded "too little, too late" by Thomas Bach, the president of the German Olympic Federation.
Ullrich had his chance for a creditable admission a couple of years ago
and he missed it," said Bach, who is seen as favourite to succeed
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge when he steps
down in September.
"Today's confirmation of some of the already well known and established facts helps neither Jan Ullrich nor cycling."
was barred from the Tour de France in 2006 amid speculation that he had
used illegal substances. He retired from cycling in February, 2007,
denying that he had ever cheated.
He was later found guilty of a
doping offence by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February, 2012
and was retroactively banned from August of that year with all results
gained since May, 2005 wiped from his slate.
campaigner Werner Franke, who received a gagging order in 2006 by a
German court after accusing Ullrich of doping, was also highly critical
of his compatriot's confession.
"That is a new European record in lying," the molecular biologist told SID, an AFP subsidiary.
"In 2006 or 2007, he insisted, in four different languages, that he did not know Mr Fuentes.
"He then obtained a court injunction against me that took four and a half years to overturn."
has insisted Ullrich used aggressive tactics, similar to Armstrong, in
order to keep any opponents silent, but 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," said Franke.
Germany's Anti Doping Agency (NADA) has already said they will investigate.
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 will also try to make contact with Jan Ullrich to find
out more clues and background," it said in a statement.