Ullrich had 'contact' with doc

2012-02-10 13:12

Berlin - Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has conceded, after receiving a two-year ban for blood doping, that he had "contact" with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Ullrich did not directly acknowledge doping but said he would not contest Thursday's ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ullrich said on his website that he accepted the ban - "not because I agree with every point in the reasoning for the ruling, but because I finally want to put an end to the issue."

The CAS ruled on Thursday that the German, who won the 1997 Tour and retired in 2007, was "fully engaged" in Fuentes' doping program, exposed in the Operation Puerto probe. The court stripped him of his third-place finish at the 2005 Tour.

"I confirm that I had contact with Fuentes. I know that this was a big mistake, which I regret very much," the German rider said.

"In retrospect, I would act differently in some situations during my career."

Ullrich, 38, said he was relieved the long judicial process was finally over and that he had no intention of returning to professional cycling in any way, while being active on the amateur side.

After winning the Tour in 1997 and finishing runner-up five times, Ullrich said he was under "enormous pressure" in 2006 from "the public, the sponsors and myself."

"Everyone wanted a second Tour victory, especially after the retirement of Lance Armstrong," Ullrich wrote.

Thursday's verdict fell nearly six years after Spanish police raided clinics alleged to be providing doping services to athletes working with Fuentes.

Ullrich was suspended weeks later from the 2006 Tour de France, before being fired by T-Mobile.

In his statement, Ullrich said he wanted "to openly admit the mistake I made" shortly after the suspension, but "my hands were tied."

"At the advice of my lawyers, as usual in such cases, I remained silent," Ullrich said.