Jan Ullrich has responded following the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling which saw him hit with a two-year ban and his results from May 2005 until his retirement in February 2007 annulled, including his third-place overall finish in the 2005 Tour de France.
In a statement released on his personal website, Ullrich said that the lengthy legal wrangling over his case was "incomprehensible" while explaining that he would not appeal the CAS decision, "Not because I agree with all points in the court's opinion, but because I want to finish the issue definitively," he said.
Ullrich was involved in the blood doping scheme of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes which was uncovered in Operacion Puerto in 2006. He was suspended by T-Mobile Team shortly before the start of the Tour de France that year and subsequently released. He announced his retirement in February 2007 and that same year it was announced that a DNA test matched his blood to samples taken into custody in Operacion Puerto.
Swiss Olympic conducted an investigation but closed it in 2009, saying it had no jurisdiction over Ullrich, a German living in Switzerland and thus riding with a Swiss licence, since he had retired. The UCI appealed that decision to the CAS.
The CAS partially upheld the UCI's appeal of the Swiss Olympic decision to dismiss its doping investigation into Ullrich after his retirement, and ruled that he was guilty of a doping offence.
"Given the volume, consistency and probative value of the evidence presented by the UCI, and the failure of Jan Ullrich to raise any doubt about the veracity of reliability of such evidence, this Panel came to the conclusion that Jan Ullrich engaged at least in blood doping in violation of Article 15.2 of the UCI Anti-Doping rules," the court said.
Ullrich admits that he had indeed been in contact with Fuentes but does not expand on the dealings.
"I know that that was a big mistake that I regret very much," he stated. "For this behavior, I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone - I'm very sorry. Looking back, I would act in certain situations during my career differently."
Below is the full transcript of Ullrich’s statement.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has now banned me for two years. This ruling brings disciplinary proceedings to an end, which has lasted almost three years. This sporting legal tug of war was unsatisfactory for all concerned for myself as for the public. It is incomprehensible to me why we all had to wait so long for this judgment.
I accept the ruling and will not challenge it. Not because I agree with all points in the court's opinion, but because I want to finish the issue definitively. As a personal consequence, I've pulled back in 2007 with my retirement from professional cycling. I confirm that I had contact with Fuentes. I know that that was a big mistake that I regret very much. For this behaviour, I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone - I'm very sorry. Looking back, I would act differently in certain situations during my career.
I wanted to get out of the Tour 2006 everything again. After my tour victory in 1997 and five second places in the public, sponsors and also my own pressure was immense. Everyone wanted a second tour victory, especially after the retirement of Lance Armstrong.
Shortly before the 2006 tour, I was hit: Suspension, headlines, ostracism, house searches, criminal complaints. I felt abandoned, fallen like a leaf. The whole world wanted to put me against the wall and then I went instinctively to ground, and eventually retired. As I said, I will not complain that not everything was warranted. Shortly after my suspension I wanted to explain my actions publicly but my hands were tied. On the advice of my lawyers, and as is usual in such cases, I have been silent on the allegations. Ultimately, this issue has polluted me for years so much that I was sick and I eventually broke down.
I am glad that finally a decision was made. For me this brings to an end my active career in cycling and it is very personal for me and my family for this difficult time to come to an end. Today's ruling will not have any bearing on my future plans. I never thought in any capacity to return to active professional cycling. This statement is from my side all that will be said on this subject and I would not like to make any further statements or interviews in public. I hope for your understanding. I hereby draw a line.
I owe a lot to cycling and will continue to further express my joy and passion for the sport to others. In the future I will therefore hope to be active in cycling in various roles. I look back on my cycling career and accomplishments with pride and look forward to my new career.