By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich doesn't have a Swiss license any more, but he have found out where he will be welcome to apply for a new one. "If Jan moves to Austria, he will get (a) pro license from me," said Rudolf Massak, director of the Austrian cycling federation. "Pro cyclists aren't saints, but it is unworthy and inhuman how they are being handled. Every person should be treated with fairness."
Massak went on to criticize the doping investigators and the UCI. "So far, everything that has been published is just speculation, and this is an impossible situation. The UCI has shoved the problem off on to the national federations. It can't be that Ivan Basso is acquitted in Italy, Ullrich sentenced in Switzerland and a proceeding against Jörg Jaksche opened, only to have it immediately struck down due to lack of evidence."
Ullrich had already heard that he needn't return to his homeland in search of a new license. "That is unimaginable," said Dieter Kühnle, vice president of the Bundes Deutscher Radfahrer, the German cycling federation.
In addition, his withdrawal from the Swiss cycling federation doesn't mean that the Swiss investigation into his possible doping practices has ended. "That won't have any influence on the continuation of the proceeding, because Ullrich rode with a Swiss license at the time of the alleged violation," said Bernhard Welten of the Swiss Olympic Committee.
As soon as the dossier in the case is complete, it will be forwarded to the disciplinary committee of Swiss Cycling. "Then, according to the WADA statutes, I will make my recommendation -- either an acquittal, because their is insufficient evidence, or for a lifetime ban. There are no other possibilities," Welten told www.radsport-aktiv.de.
Welten does not believe that his investigation is affected by the ban placed by a Spanish judge on the use of the Operation Puerto material. "I have only heard about that through the media, but this ban only affects governmental entities, not the sports federations. We still expect additional material from Spain and Germany." Swiss Cycling director Lorenz Schläfli said that he did not know when the material would arrive. He added that he assume that Ullrich would be sending his Swiss license back to the federation.
Ullrich's announcement of his withdrawal from the Swiss federation and the resulting publicity have caused him to change his plans for this weekend. His manager Wolfgang Strohband announced that Ullrich had cancelled his plans to attend the wedding in Berlin of close friend Andreas Klöden, because he did not want to take attention away from the bride and groom.