By Susan Westemeyer
The final chapter in Jan Ullrich's career as a professional cyclist was written on Monday, when the German announced his retirement from competition following the fallout from the Spanish authority's Operación Puerto investigation. "I am ending my active career. It was not an easy decision, but when the inner voice speaks, you have to listen to it," declared the former T-Mobile rider.
"I have thought a lot about my life and I think that it is time for something new, time to take the step in life after my active career. I have had so many successes in this wonderful sport, now it is time to seek out new challenges."
At a press conference Monday morning in Hamburg, Germany, Ullrich said he was not bitter and that he had nothing to blame himself for. While Ullrich refused to directly address the issue of doping, Operación Puerto or Dr. Fuentes, he did send one clear message to those at the conference: "I have never cheated."
Describing the sport as his love and passion, Ullrich announced he will stay involved in cycling as an advisor to Team Volksbank, a small Austrian Professional Continental team where he will be involved in marketing and public relations.
One thing that particularly appealed to Ullrich about the team was that it had offered not only to hire him as a rider, but also to hire the people that he wanted to bring with him. "That really impressed me," he stated.
For the full news feature on Jan Ullrich's press conference, click here.