Skip to main content

Reactions to Ullrich suspension

By Susan Westemeyer

After Team T-Mobile suspended Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and DS Rudy Pevenage, there have been multiple reactions in the surroundings of the German outfit. Here's a selection:

Walter Godefroot, former owner and team manager of Team Telekom/T-Mobile, called the scandal "a catastrophe for cycling." He added, "I won't have anything further to say, except to add that Pevenage hasn't existed for me since 2002."

Arthur Tabat, Ullrich friend and organizer of the "Rund um Köln" race: "This is the end of his career. There is surely something to the charges. Jan is a great cyclist, who also had great results without doping. The problem in the current situation is: if you don't dope, you don't win the Tour."

Hans-Michael Holczer, Team Manager, Team Gerolsteiner: "That is a hard blow for cycling. The unanimous decision for clean teams makes me feel that we will survive this setback. We will have to wait and see how it affects German cycling, how the public reacts to Jan Ullrich's case."

Marcel Wüst, ex-pro cyclist: "That is unbelievable, that is something you have to digest first. It is especially shocking to me, how apparently widespread the manipulation is. But we have to take advantage of this opportunity - in the end the Tour makes the stars, the stars don't make the Tour. All of the biggest GC riders seem to be affected. If they were all clean, then the results in Paris would be the same, but the times would be a little slower. We can only hope that on Saturday we can concentrate on the sporting aspects. If the charges against Jan Ullrich should be proven, then I think his career is over."

Jens Heppner, former Ullrich colleague: "I think that Jan wanted to end his career after a Tour victory anyway. Now he just has to end it three weeks earlier."

Rolf Aldag, former Ullrich colleague: "Of course this is very hard, but then maybe it is a chance for cycling to really clean itself up. When you earn five million a year, then maybe you are more willing to take a risk with your health. I think that cycling will learn a bigger lesson from this affair than it did from the 1998 Tour scandal."

Thomas Bach, IOC Vice-President and German Olympic Committee President: "I can only advise Jan Ullrich to do everything he can for a quick and comprehensive explanation, including a DNA test. This would be in his own interest, as well as that of the sport, especially the young riders and the fans. Only a comprehensive explanation offers the chance for the necessary cleansing process. [...] One of the most important tasks for the future will be to break up such a network early, or not let it get a chance to develop. The state and the sport must share this assignment. The sport can't dry out this swamp by itself, it needs the help of the state."

Rudolf Scharping, president of the German Cycling Federation: "Team T-Mobile's decision is clear and consequent. It makes clear: everything will be done for a clean sport, no matter which name is involved. The German Cycling Federation supports this position. Only a clean sport can have the popularity, be an example for the youngsters and also gain the trust of its economic partners. Popular athletes must stand to this responsibility."