Ullrich alludes to doping era in cycling

The exclusion of Jan Ullrich from the 2006 Tour started a downward spiral of German cycling.

The exclusion of Jan Ullrich from the 2006 Tour started a downward spiral of German cycling. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

There were times when it was not possible to be tops in cycling without doping, and “I was part” of these times, Jan Ullrich said Friday.  However, he issued a new statement Saturday morning backtracking from the implications of that sentiment, which he claims was inaccurately reported.

The 1997 Tour de France winner did not directly address the question of whether he had doped, but when asked by the dpa news agency if there were times when doping was necessary to bring in top results, he answered, “Yes, of course, there were these times, I was part of them myself.”

In a statement published Saturday morning, Ullrich said that his Friday statement was not misquoted. “I can only speak for and stand for my mistakes in a period in my career,” he said. “But it is not for me to say that major successes were reached earlier in cycling only through doping. From my own experience I can say that top performances were possible without illegal products, and still are today!”

Ullrich, 38, is currently serving a two-year suspension for his involvement with  Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. The sentence was only announced this year, although the German retired from the sport in 2007.

“I have made mistakes and earned the punishment,” he said. “But the process takes too long. Mine lasted six years. But for me that is all in the past. I must now look forward and have confidence that everything in cycling is now in order.”

Ullrich, who is to become a father for the fourth time in November, has returned to public life in the last year.

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