TechPowered By

More tech

Ullrich hints again at doping during career

Cycling News
March 28, 2013, 09:42,
March 28, 2013, 09:47
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 28, 2013
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) thunders through the rain to win the final stage time trial in Bern

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) thunders through the rain to win the final stage time trial in Bern

view thumbnail gallery

Martin, Ciolek and younger generation deserve a chance, says German

Retired Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich has hinted again that his career involved doping but has reinforced his position that he will not go down the path of Lance Armstrong, who provided a television confession with Oprah Winfrey.

"Anyone can make a picture of what happened in the past in cycling and I contributed my part," Ullrich wrote in his regular Eurosport blog. "Lance Armstrong and many others have expressed their past in TV interviews as this was obviously the right way for them personally."

The winner of the 1997 Tour was implicated in the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation into blood doping and was eventually handed a two-year ban in addition to having all results from 1 May, 2005 onwards stripped from him. Ullrich's most significant result during that time was his third place at the 2005 Tour.

Ullrich, as he has since officially retiring from the sport in 2007, referred to the importance of his family and said that dredging up the past and potentially damaging the reputation of former sponsors is not something he is looking to do anytime soon. Dealing with his issues since moving away from competitive cycling means more than appealing to the public’s need for a confession.

"My active cycling career has been over for almost ten years. The only thing that counts now and in the future is me and my family. My way is to agree on the matter with myself, rather than perhaps the people and sponsors who have supported me in my cycling days. I don’t need to drag them down."

Race organisers and professionals alike are now responsible for regaining the trust of fans, according to the 39-year-old. The inclusion of courses like those seen at Tirreno-Adriatico - where riders dealt with the brutal ascent of the Sant'Elpidio a Mare - need to be taken into perspective when looking to develop the sport into the future.

"I have my concerns on the role of race organizers. The Tour celebrates its 100th Anniversary and Alpe d'Huez will be climbed twice in a day.

"The Giro has always been in the shadow of the Tour de France and is perhaps 'jealous' of the advertising revenue its colleagues receive at ASO. From year-to-year there are increases in the number of mountain stages and you can now count the sprint stages on one hand.

"The same applies to the Vuelta and then at Tirreno-Adriatico - which I found exciting to watch - the peloton had to cope with gradients of nearly 30 percent. It remains to be seen how this trend will continue."

Ullrich also spoke of his admiration for his country’s top riders like Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka). "In my opinion, cycling should again look more to the future. I know the guys like Gerald and Tony personally and I can only say ‘hats off to their achievements. I trust them and so should the fans. Our younger generation deserves a fair chance!

"Anyway, I am still an ardent cycling enthusiast and looking forward to the next exciting race, as do many millions of other fans around the world."


Benito More than 1 year ago
Omertà. Omertà. This is the law of our society. Laws that don’t forgive those who break their silence. Blind, deaf and dumb am I. The man who speaks too much will never have it easy. But whoever is deaf and blind and mute will live in peace for a hundred years.
rastymick More than 1 year ago
What do you mean? Ullrich left the sport 10 years ago, he isn't involved in the sport at all... he has nothing to gain from remaining silent. Actually, the media and prosecutors have literally torn him apart over the last 6 years. He could have saved himself lots of troubles (and even made a nice chunck of money) if only he had spoken out. In 2007, Ullrich decided to never again be involved in cycling - in any role whatsoever. Don't ask my why he didn't collaborate, but this has nothing to do with OMERTA. Other guys, like Basso and even Ricco (after his first CERA positive) decided to "collaborate" and got away with a shortened 15 month ban although they didn't really tell anything of importance
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
huh?? this has everything to do with Omerta... it a social code.. it's simple, you don't talk, period... it's not about gaining anything by it, almost no one gains by not talking... we see those that chose to talk in the armstrong case get 6mth bans coincided with the off seaon and Armstrong get a lifetime ban for not talking... it's an honor among thieves type of thing.. you aren't protecting yourself.. it's about a misguided effort to protect the fraternity of cycling and other dopers...
cosmic_osmo More than 1 year ago
youve obviously never been a thief, nor was the person who invented that expression.....
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
I say good for you, Ulle. You played second fiddle to the Lance doping machine for many years, losing out on countless palmares and uncountable endorsement income. Lance has now "leveled the field" by exposing himself to lawsuits in excess of $100M against his income. I see no need or reason for Ulle to do the same. This is the only smart play. Good on ya!!
colnago200 More than 1 year ago
He doped We all know he doped He knows, that we know he doped Its the same when I think back to every cyclist of that era - up and down form, detroying riders in July who were dropping them in April Mouth closed over the top of a Col Riders blowing everyone away one day and getting dropped on the first climb the next day For the moment anyway, times are a changing
epofuel More than 1 year ago
But...we don´t know that times are changing, do we? All we have our numbers and the words of the riders, and that isn´t enough. In 20 years, we´ll know a bit more. If Valverde and Basso are in the sport still, guys like Ulle need to be part of cycling again. He is a class act. Even though I also believe Lance still has a place in cycling, I think he could have saved himself a lot of trouble by being humble like Jan. I think The Kaiser is probably happy eating his Bavarian meat cakes now in the off season. If he gets really hungry, he could wolf down a Landis Pie or a Hamilton Sausage. Those scrawny twerps were never any match for Jan.
TwelfthGear More than 1 year ago
Doomed PR campaign for Lance Armstrong.
noidea More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of this man. I think cycling could gain a lot from this man's input.
epofuel More than 1 year ago
Absolutely. Ulle and Lance and the others need to come back to cycling. Lance could go to the Ulle school of humility. But those two were the symbols of the generation. Love them or hate them, they brought more fans than Cadel Evans or Bradley Friggins ever will.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
EPO, I appreciate your many posts regarding inequity among punishments. But I don't understand what you mean by "place in cycling". These guys are too old to race and too rich to need a job. What place are you speaking of?
RobbieCanuck More than 1 year ago
Your argument is absolutley ludicrous. The LAST thing cycling needs is any input from two vain glorious cheaters, liars, dopers and prevaricators.. The only symbol they represented in their generation is corruption. And I really doubt they brought in fans for the right reason. Futhrmore any fans LA brought to the sport were celebrity addled American fans, crated by LA's publicity machine (aided and abetted by Nike, Trek etc) and not real fans. It was their dueling personalities that attracted fans as a form of psychological entertainment. If that is the kind of sick enertainment you want go watch pro wrestling. These two are about as narcissistic, vanity seeking, selfish and hubristic atheletes the world has ever seen. It made for great soap opera drama, but hardly advances the purity and beauty of athleticism that cycling should be.
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
Robbie, if they do a movie on Ian Paisley, can I recommend you to play him ... or at least coach the actor that does? Just askin.
RobbieCanuck More than 1 year ago
Alpe - you just don't get it. You are out of touch with reality if you are a Lance or Jan Fanboy or troll. Politically I am about as far from Ian Paisley as one can get. I actually saw him debate in the HC once and was repulsed. But I have played sport at an elite level. I have coached sport at a senior level. I have been an official. I understand sport about as well as anyone. I can tell pretty well who are the good guys and who are the @$$ @#*!e$ You on the other hand are myoptic.
noidea More than 1 year ago
Robbie, am I assuming from the resume you've just presented, you're vying for that UCI president's position??
Tangled Tango More than 1 year ago
You are correct that Lance and Jan were the top doped racers of their era (Pantani among others included), but you should reserve your description of them both as "narcissistic, vanity seeking, selfish and hubristic atheletes the world has ever seen" to Lance alone and most definitely not Jan, who has always been and remained a humble and good natured racer to both his rivals and rest of the peloton. These are too very different types of personalities, almost polar opposites. Read anything written about Jan from other cyclists and you will get a very different view of the man than reading anything about Lance.
noidea More than 1 year ago
My sentiments as well
RobbieCanuck More than 1 year ago
@ noidea and TT Okay, here is the rub. A cyclist we admire for his natural physical talents and his apparent "nice guy" character ( as you suggest, unlike LA) cheated, lied and doped to win the TDF and other races. He doesn't want to talk about it. There is nothing wrong with that, because that is his perogative. It is unfortunate he makes no constructive suggestions as to how to keep the culture of doping out of cycling. Given his own doping I suspect he could assist greatly in this regard. BUT to have the arrogance to state, "I trust them and so should the fans. Our younger generation deserves a fair chance!" rings hollow from a cheat and liar. Why should anyone take Ulrich at his word given his dysmal record of doping. What you guys don't seem to get is there are consequences to cheating. Those consequences include an impeachment of character. You don't just wipe 25 years of serial cheating by the peloton under the rug and say everything is okay. That is the UCI mantra. Ulrich was an active participant and conspirator in perpetuating this culture. That is a bit arrogant and narcissistic. And yes I could do a hell of a lot better as UCI president than McQuaid. I was a lawyer for 35 years and I am currently working on my Masters in Psychology. My career as a lawyer was as a Crown Prosecutor, a defence lawyer and a trial lawyer who practiced civil litigation and administrative law. I understand administrative law and the principles that go into disciplining athletes short of the criminal process. What cycling needs is a complete overhaul of the system. One that ferrets out doping but at the same time respects the rights of the athletes. I have long been a proponent of a union for cyclists, where the union would be committed to clean cycling. An independent union not like the sham of an organization for cyclists set up by the UCI. But a ton of people could do the job as well or better than me. I suspect there are many people in the sport with credibility and a good public persona. Charles Pelkey comes to mind (nobody knows me from Adam). I just don't have the stomach for the politics of corruption. So I sit on the sidelines and bark in the comments section when I see hypocracy in action.
Mamil 1 More than 1 year ago
Every time someone claims that courses force riders to dope I think of Ben Johnson.
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
Exactly... It's nonsense... anyone... ANYONE can get over those courses... the only difference is the speed is slower when you don't dope... people dope to win that's it! As you say, some of the biggest dopers are in a race that last 9seconds.. and in throws where the actual effort is 2 or 3 seconds...
_nm___ More than 1 year ago
well, they should reduce the 100 meters by about a half and you'll see, people will stop doping
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
This assertion, or implication, that difficult races either require doping or encourage it, is invalid. I laugh at my friends who speak of their brutal day riding into the wind or up a mountain. All one must do to reduce effort is slow down. Humans cheat in order to gain the prize, not because of the difficulty.
dingophoto More than 1 year ago
Re read your own post. Race? Prize? Kind of the idea, isn't it?
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
They cheat to win. They do not cheat in order to finish a difficult course.
Ciclisto More than 1 year ago
What about his comments about the race organizers, with which I totally agree. People whine about doping, but want harder and harder races and stages, with more climbs, steeper climbs and more unpaved and cobbled roads. In other words, governing bodies and race organizers say "don't use products which aid in your performance, but we are going to make the races harder and harder." Something has to give. No matter what you think of him or anyone else who raced during that period, he is absolutely right to point out the hypocrisy.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
Do you believe that a world class athlete must dope in order to complete the course?
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
To complete a stage, 'no' To finish a grand tour with minimal time in the red zone, 'no.' Change the variables above ( and introduce 'desire to WIN', 'desire to support a potential winner', 'desire to get a contract next year;, etc, etc) and I can see the logic behind why cyclists dope, despite the dangers, rule violations, etc.
RobbieCanuck More than 1 year ago
What is with you? Biker Bruce nailed the logic - they cheat to win!
Tangled Tango More than 1 year ago
Have you read any books from past dopers? Have you read any books about doping in cycling in general? If you have, you would know that for the majority of cyclists, doping was the only way they could keep their job. The majority of cyclists have no chance of winning anything, because most of them are part of a team that supports a leader who can win. It is not as black and white as "they cheat to win". For them it is much more complicated. I am as against doping as anyone, but I am not nor have ever been in the position to either choose to dope or quite the only job I know how to do. Remember, most of these cyclists do not have college degrees or any form of professional calling. So why not apply a little human understanding and look at it from a slightly broader perspective.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Ullrich, he didn't do anything different than cycling culture was at the time and provided all of us with many great racing moments. 10 years after the fact it is pointless to start pointing fingers. I agree with him about the trend of making the Tours harder and harder. It is how the racers ride the course that makes for excitement, when it merely comes down to survival we get boring racing. Perhaps an easier course would provide for more fresher riders who would then race more aggressively than saving it all for the last 2 km of a climb after a day of boring racing.
velogeek More than 1 year ago
I disagree with this. If all you want is explosive action, you can watch track cycling. Road racing is an endurance sport, and the most prestigious races are the ones that test endurance, and recovery, the most. And by the way, the antics you used to see in the Grand Tours - riders flying up to Alpe d'Huez and then getting dropped in the neutral the next day - reveal that while doping surely improves performance, it doesn't necessarily help recovery, unless you can somehow use a steroid and not get caught.
rastymick More than 1 year ago
Doping in cycling is a lot about recovery. In the past, insiders often said: maybe you can win a one day race without doping if it's relatively flat, but you can never win a grand tour. Even if you are at 100% of your form, it is normal to have 1 or 2 "bad" days in a 3 week tour if you have to go full gas every day... With the introduction of EPO & blood doping, those off days almost completely disappeared. That's why I'm still skeptical today if a rider doesn't have a single day in a 3 week tour, where he shows at least some weaknesses.
Murali Parameswaran More than 1 year ago
anyone interested in voting for Ullrich as the next UCI boss? He makes sense regarding the undue difficulty level in long races. He might actually bring down doping as well!
jw1979 More than 1 year ago
All class, love this guy.
Tour de France
Giro d'Italia
Vuelta a España