The anti-doping arm of the Swiss federation is set to open disciplinary hearings for Jan Ullrich in early January. The German cyclist, winner of the 1997 Tour de France, was linked this last may with Operación Puerto when the Spanish Guardia Civil raided the offices of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. He was subsequently dropped from his long-time squad, T-Mobile.
"It will likely be done in the beginning of January," said Bernhard Welten to AGR regarding the disciplinary hearings. "I the moment we possess all the documents, I will ask to the disciplinary commission that we proceed."
In October, Ullrich renounced his Swiss racing license, and has since been searching for both a new national federation and a team for 2007. "My goal now is to work all my frustrations out on the bike," he said to Cyclingnews on November 13, saying that he was training around three hours every day.
The 32 year-old, who has not raced since June, has been gearing up for a legal battle by hiring a new lawyer, Dr. Peter-Michael Diestel. The German lawyer indicated that he is ready to assist his client. "I want to help bring one of Germany's most prominent and important cyclists back into the life he belongs in," Diestel told German newspaper Ostsee Zeitung.
Ullrich was allegedly linked to Fuentes via code numbers and the nicknameHijo Rudicio, similar 'evidence' as used to implicate Italian cyclist Ivan Basso. The cyclist and his lawyer may take some comfort in the recent ruling by the Italian cycling federation (FCI), to shelve the investigation of Basso. The Italian has returned to cycling's top level, albeit not without controversy, by signing a contract with Discovery Channel, and Ullrich hopes for a similar successful outcome.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto