By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich yesterday refused to accept the termination of his contract from T-Mobile and has engaged lawyers to meet team managers to discuss the legality of his sacking, according to Reuters.
The first talks were held Tuesday in Bonn between Ullrich's lawyers and those representing T-Mobile. Ullrich himself did not attend, T-Mobile team spokesman Christian Frommert told Cyclingnews, adding that, "It was a very good and constructive meeting."
"We agreed to not comment on the content," said Frommert. "We fixed the date for the next meeting. There is no agreement yet but it was constructive and there will be more meetings."
Frommert added that Ullrich's ability to sign with another team, "depends on the outcome of these meetings. He was dismissed, now it is a question of what comes out of these meetings. Once it is cleared up then of course other teams can make him an offer but the question is whether from a sports law point of view he can ride. That is outside of our remit."
In a previous interview, Ullrich said he refused to submit to a DNA test, because, "I am a pro cyclist and not a murderer or criminal."
Ullrich said that the first few days after the suspension were hard for him. "Naturally I was down at first, was very depressed and had motivation problems. I had no interest in riding my bike." Since then, things have changed. "Yes, a week ago it started itching again. I notice that I had to do something, that my big athlete's heart was requiring movement. And then it was there again, my passion for cycling. I've been training again for several days now, and it's a lot of fun."
"I have never cheated another rider in my whole career," said Ullrich. "That is a fact. This year I have undergone 11 unannounced doping tests in training and countless competition tests, all of which were negative."
He further maintained his innocence in the Spanish doping affair and said that he cannot accept his firing from Team T-Mobile. "I do not accept the termination of my contract because in my opinion there is no reason for it," Ullrich said. "I expected more support from the team."
Other teams have expressed interest in his future, even if there aren't any concrete offers yet. Money doesn't play a role for him, he says. "I'm open for everything and am looking for a good team for 2007. I don't want to just ride another year, I want to win the big one. And to do that I need a professional team, in which I can also have fun."