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German may have lied to court about not doping in early 2003, attorney claims
Jan Ullrich may be the next to make a fuller doping confession, according to the German media. It is being reported that his management and the German National Anti-Doping Agency plan to meet early in August for discussions. More ominously for the only German Tour de France winner, however, was the news that he may be tried for perjury, dating back to when he testified that he did not dope during his time with Team Coast in 2003.
Neither the NADA nor Ullrich's management had a comment on the proposed meeting, the SID news agency reported. The possibility of an extended confession comes after Ullrich's name appeared as “positive” for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. His teammate Erik Zabel earlier this week admitted to having used doping products for years.
Ullrich retired in 2007 after his name arose in association with Operacion Puerto and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006. While he never admitted to doping earlier, he finally admitted recently that he had been a patient of Fuentes.
Ullrich joined Team Coast in January 2003, bringing with him sport director Rudy Pevenage. The team had financial problems and was twice suspended by the UCI for failing to pay its riders. In late May of 2003, Bianchi took over sponsorship of the team.
The perjury charges stem from a 2008 case in which former Team Coast owner Günther Dahms sued Ullrich for contract violations. Dahms wanted damages plus interest on the grounds that Ullrich doped while with the team, which violated the contract, while Ullrich countersued for unpaid wages. The court ruled in Ullrich's favour.
At court in Düsseldorf, Germany, Ullrich swore under oath that while with Team Coast for the first three months of 2003, he did not dope or use any illegal methods.
He was specifically asked about doping products or methods, including any kind of blood doping, and about contacts to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. Concerning Fuentes, he said that he had no personal contact with Fuentes in this time period, nor were there payments to him.
Attorney Knut Marel, who represented Dahms in the case, disputes this and siad that he is planning a legal complaint against Ullrich “Conscious lying to a court is a crime,” he told the SID news agency.
His grounds are that it has been proven that Ullrich visited Fuentes on April19-20, 2003. “It has been shown that he spent the night near the airport in Madrid in a hotel which the Guardia Civil has identified as Fuentes' 'doper hotel'. He received a re-infusion of blood. That always took place around three to four weeks after the blood was removed, so this must have taken place in March 2003 – the time period for which Jan Ullrich denies all doping.”
A conviction for perjury in Germany carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one-year imprisonment.