German implicated in Operacion Puerto in 2006
Jan Ullrich has said that he welcomes the impending Court of Arbitration for Sport decision on his implication in Operacion Puerto. On Thursday, CAS is set to announce its verdict on the UCI and WADA’s appeal against the Swiss Olympic Committee’s decision to close an investigation on Ullrich’s links to the blood doping practices of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
"Tomorrow is a happy day for me. I am happy to have the decision after waiting for almost six years," Ullrich told Reuters. "I had to suffer a lot and even suffered burn-out. I am happy to have the verdict. Then I can again comment on it and then it is over and done with."
Ullrich was first implicated in Operacion Puerto on the eve of the 2006 Tour de France. His T-Mobile team pulled him from the race, and the German subsequently announced his retirement in February 2007. In April of that year, prosecutors in Germany said that they had matched Ullrich’s DNA to blood bags seized from Eufemiano Fuentes.
As Ullrich competed under a Swiss licence in the latter part of his career, the Swiss Olympic Committee opened an inquiry into the matter in July 2009. The following year, however, they shelved their investigation on the basis that, as Ullrich had ceased to hold a Swiss licence in 2006, they no longer had jurisdiction over his case.
Both the UCI and WADA appealed the Swiss Olympic Committee’s decision not to proceed with the investigation. Although Ullrich’s career effectively ended as a result of his implication in Operacion Puerto, he was never formally sanctioned.
Speaking on Wednesday, Ullrich also expressed his surprise at the two-year suspension handed to Alberto Contador by CAS earlier in the week.
“This is a tough verdict and I did not expect that," Ullrich said. "I wish Alberto a lot of strength so that he can return in August in full force. A cyclist like him is superb for the sport."