By Susan Westemeyer in Düsseldorf, Germany
Jan Ullrich denied using any doping product or method from January through March 2003, when he was under contract to Team Coast, in a courtroom Wednesday morning in Düsseldorf, Germany. He testified as to this time period in a dispute over wages still owed to him by former Coast team owner Günhter Dahms. The court ruled in Ullrich's favor and ordered Dahms to pay him.
The 34-year-old consistently and clearly answered "No" to all questions of using doping medicaments or methods at this time, or at an earlier time which would allow the effects to carry over into that time frame. He was specifically asked about doping products or methods, including any kind of blood doping, and about contacts to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
Concerning Fuentes, he said that he had no personal contact with Fuentes in this time period, nor were there payments to him. If others, including his advisor and Directeur Sportif Rudy Pevenage had contact with the Spanish doctor, Ullrich said that he was not aware of it.
Ullrich did admit contact with Dr. Luigi Cecchini, but said that this dealt only with the preparation of training plans. He was introduced to the Italian doctor by his brother-in-law Tobias Steinhauser, who was also a pro rider and a client of Cecchini. The contact started in February 2003, and "had only to do with training plans. I never got any kind of medication from him." He further noted that his work with Cecchini was not secret but was widely known at the time.
The only time he ran into explanation difficulties was when Dahms' attorneys asked about blood found at the Freiburg University Clinic identified as his, with the dates November 13, 2002, and April 2, 2003. At the former date, Ullrich was still suspended for his amphetamine use, and at the latter date, he was under the care of Team Coast doctors.
Ullrich said that he was unable to explain how the blood "if it is even mine" came to be at the Freiburg Clinic. He said that he had no professional contact while he was with Team Coast with doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich, who have since confessed to supplying Team Telekom rides with doping products.
It was the first time that Ullrich had sworn under oath that he had not used doping, and the judge carefully explained to him the penalties of perjury, or lying under oath. In Germany a conviction for perjury carries a minimum sentence of one year imprisonment.
After the hearing, Ullrich said that right had been done, adding, "Dahms is a cheat. I don't want his dirty money. Dahms lied in my face, although he knew he was broke. If I do get anything from him, then I will donate it to a children's charity."
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