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Jan Ullrich at the Gran Fondo Colnago Miami
Continued participation in cyclo-sportive races legally questionable
Jan Ullrich's statement concerning his doping past and two-year ban have been met with disappointment in Germany. In addition, questions have arisen as to his continued participation in Grand Fondos and similar cyclo-sportive races.
After the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued its ruling that concluded he had “engaged at least in blood doping”, the German issued a statement in which he admitted contact to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and apologized for his conduct.
He did not, however, directly address the issue of doping. And this met with much disapproval within the German cycling scene.
Dr. Werner Franke, an anti-doping crusader who has often been in court against Ullrich, called the statement “without substance” and “the laughable attempt to close the affair.” He told the dpa news agency, “I continue to see this as fully insufficient.”
Franke doesn't think the whole thing is over, though. “Bit by bit, everything will come out.”
A German politician expressed a similar reaction. “This explanation was absolutely disappointing, but for me no surprise,” said Dagmar Freitag, head of the German Parliament's Sport Committee. “Jan Ullrich missed his last chance to win back even a little of his credibility, because he failed to come clean.”
His former employer Deutsche Telekom did not address his statement, but noted simply that “The CAS decision underlines that the team management's decision in 2006 to separate itself from Jan Ullrich was correct.”
The firm will not sue him or attempt to get any money out of him. “There will be no request on behalf of Telekom for payment for damages from Jan Ullrich in light of the CAS decision,” it said.
The CAS decision requires him to pay the UCI 10,000 Euro to cover the trial costs. It is also unclear as to whether race organisers or other sponsors may demand the return of payments.
His newest sponsor has declared its loyalty to Ullrich – at least, before the decision was announced. That is the Bielefeld, Germany, based firm “Dr. Kurt Wolff”, which makes amongst other products, Alpecin shampoo. Ironically, their advertising slogan is “Doping for the hair”.
The deal was announced at a press conference Wednesday, the day before the CAS ruling was released, and one important aspect of it is Ullrich's participation in the “Cycling Day” cyclo-sportive event in Bielefeld in August. Ullrich has become active in cyclo-sportives n the last year, and is scheduled to ride a number of Grand Fondo races in the US for organiser Star Events.
However, the question has arisen as to whether he will be able to participate in such races, at least in Germany. His two-year ban does indeed covers cyclo-sportive races, according to the German cycling federation, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer.
Ullrich's advisor, Falk Nier, disagrees with this interpretation. “That is mainly up to the discretion of the organiser. This rule mainly applies to the official time measurement. That is not Jan's goal at all.”
According to Nier, Ullrich's appearance at the “Cycling Day” would “not be the function of a cyclist, but that of an ambassador for amateur cycling. He doesn't have to be included in the time measurement. So I really can't imagine that Jan will not be at the start in Bielefeld.”