By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich is not sitting around waiting for others to decide his fate but is taking matters into his own hands. The Ostsee Zeitung reported that the 32 year-old German will fly to South Africa Thursday for a training camp.
Ullrich, who recently announced that he had started training again will likely be joined there by former teammates Andreas Klöden and Danilo Hondo, the paper reports.
In addition, Ullrich has a new attorney to represent him in his various legal battles, Dr. Peter-Michael Diestel of Potsdam, Germany. "I want to help bring one of Germany's most prominent and important cyclists back into the life he belongs in," Diestel told the German newspaper.
Diestel, 54 years-old, studied law in Leipzig in the former East Germany, but was not allowed to practice law for unnamed "political reasons." In 1986 he became active in national politics. In 1990 he served as the last Minister of the Interior for the East German government and was allowed to start practicing law after the German reunification. Diestel has specialized in representing former Stasi workers (Stasi being the former East German secret police) and former East German athletes and trainers who have been accused of doping. For example, in 2005 he represented track and field trainer Thomas Springstein, who was accused of having assisted in doping of under-age athletes.
Ullrich's press spokesman Michael Lang doubted the report of the imminent training camp. "Either the Ostsee Zeitung needs to double check their sources or Jan needs to turn into a real fast packer. As far as I know he's not flying anywhere the next few days," he explained to Cyclingnews Thursday midday.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto