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Jan Ullrich given suspended sentence and probation for drunk driving accident

Jan Ullrich has been handed a 21-month prison sentence in Switzerland on Thursday, with the sentence suspended to four years. The charges stem from an car accident he caused in May 2014.

The 1997 Tour de France winner admitted at the time to being under the influence of alcohol, with a test at the scene allegedly showing 1.4 per mil, well above the Swiss limit of 0.5.

According to media reports, he was traveling at such a high speed that he was unable to brake in time and hit a car in front of him stopped at a stop sign. That car overturned and landed in a field, and Ullrich then hit a second stopped car. Two persons from those other cars had to be taken to hospital but were not seriously injured.

An expert opinion before the court last November found that the German, who lived in Switzerland a number of years before moving to Mallorca, was traveling at 132km/h instead of the previously report 140km/h. The allowed speed limit was 80km/h, and if he had beene 60km/h or more above that, he would have drawn a mandatory prison sentence.

As it was, he was given a suspended sentence, and ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs (8,700 Euro) and court costs.

The judge noted that "The limits are the same for everyone – whether a top athlete or a 'normal person', it doesn't play a role."

On his website, the 43-year-old said, "I am very relieved that the proceedings are over. Three years and four months are an unusually long time to wrap up a case like this. I am happy and thankful that no one was seriously injured in the accident and I can only repeat that I very much regret this mistake."

From Switzerland, Ullrich went directly to hospital in Munich, Germany, for surgery on his left knee.

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