By Susan Westemeyer
The Swiss cycling federation is preparing to open disciplinary hearings against him, but Jan Ullrich isn't worried. He is "confident" that "everything will be explained" in the procedure. He continues to deny all the charges and is making plans for his future career, says his manager Wolfgang Strohband. He told www.radsportnews.net that a number of teams are interested in his client, but that "We are waiting until the end of the hearings. Ullrich is not even riding any criteriums, even though that means we are losing money.
"One thing is for sure," says Strohband, "Jan will never again wear the T-Mobile jersey. This chapter is absolutely closed."
Strohband was also indignant over the recently published fax message from Eufemiano Fuentes, in which Ullrich's name appears, along with six others (Ivan Basso and Jose Enrique Gutierrez are also there). "This document that appeared in the Suddeutsche Zeitung is in front of us, we know it. The name Jan Ullrich curiously appears there as number seven. Until now it was always said, he was number one. What there in that article appears is totally impossible," he told the dpa. "We haven't yet thought about whether to take legal action," he said.
Marcus Holz, Ullrich's attorney, was not at all impressed with the fax. "We find this whole thing to be somewhat crazy," he told www.netzeitung.de "The fax is just an internal concern of Fuentes'," he said. "It is neither a fax from Jan Ullrich nor a fax to Jan Ullrich.
"The fax is now being treated as the 'Missing Link' between Ullrich and Fuentes. We don't see how a contact can be established in this way - by the mention of an athlete in a fax."
He added that he plans to make a public statement in the next few days on the charges against Ullrich, but that for now he is busy with the underlying documents, not all of which have yet arrived at his office. However, he says that "We can refute all of the things that have already been said."
In further news, Ullrich announced on his website, www.janullrich.de, that Prof. Dr. Gerhard Walter, chairman of the Disciplinary Committee for Doping, would not be involved in the Ullrich hearings. The German rider had notified Swiss Cycling that Walter had several times voiced an opinion against him, and asked the federation to take a position on this. He said that he was informed that "in the case of a procedure, Dr. Walter would stand aside."