In the light of the latest news coming out of Spain, according to which the information from the Operación Puerto investigation cannot be used for sports-disciplinary proceedings, Discovery Channel is reported to have made the first move on Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, who may be free to choose a new team if he is cleared. Spanish AS.com reports that Johan Bruyneel has made the German champ an offer to lead his team during the next season.
The German, affiliated to the Swiss cycling federation, is without a team and without a racing license at the moment, because of his presumed implication in the doping scandal around Eufemiano Fuentes. But the Swiss officials might issue Ullrich a new license for lack of evidence - the documents the Spanish Guardia Civil delivered to the UCI (and therefore to the national federations) might not be legally valid. The Spanish court investigating the case has ordered that the information cannot be used to open proceedings with any sporting bodies or to sanction the implicated riders until the trial has ended, presumably in June next year.
Wolfgang Strohband, Ullrich's manager, denied an official offer had been made to his client, as German Bild reporter Joachim Logisch told Cyclingnews. Bruyneel's interest in Ullrich, meanwhile, is no secret, but no contract negotiations may take place until the rider is officially cleared.
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