T-Mobile has led the way in setting up programs to ensure a cleaner sport inspired by last year's Operación Puerto. The connection of its former rider, Jan Ullrich, to the Spanish investigation led to the reshaping of the Germany-based team from top to bottom. Bob Stapleton spoke with Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown to give his reactions on Ullrich's DNA linking to Eufemiano Fuentes and the positives that can come from this situation.
On Tuesday afternoon, German public prosecutor Fred Apostel told sports news agency sid that the comparison with a DNA sample taken from Ullrich's saliva demonstrated "without a doubt" that the blood seized by the Guardia Civil last year during the raids of Fuentes' offices belonged to the now-retired German cyclist. Before this, the bags marked with "Jan", "number 1", or "Hijo Rudicio" ('son of Rudy') could not be clearly considered to contain the blood of Ullrich, but now it would seem the situation has changed.
"My initial reaction was not of surprise," said Stapleton from his home in California as he prepared to take his child to school. "I guess the only thing that has been surprising is how bad this has been handled by Jan's advisors."
He brushed off any ideas that the blood had been somehow manipulated by Spanish investigators during their work. "I think this conspiracy theory is putting a bitter end on what was a pretty remarkable career that Jan had," he said. "I prefer to remember Jan as an outstanding bike rider that made some mistakes. To see him advised in this unusual and increasingly unrealistic public position is really painful."
Read the full interview with Bob Stapleton.