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Ullrich hops back on a bike amid controversy

Ullrich announces retirement

Ullrich announces retirement (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Jan Ullrich will ride "his bike with friends for the first time in more than a year," as the German put it on his website, He will participate in a charity event in Weil der Stadt, near Stuttgart. The event is held on October 3rd, the German national holiday. It marks the reunification of East and West Germany and has helped develop the German cycling program, culminating in the first ever Tour win by a German.

The event that day is organised by Heinz Betz. Ullrich decided to participate "because the fun is combined with the necessary." The money raised in the event will go to disabled kids in Böblingen "who don't have it as good as we have it."

He also criticized the organizers of the World Championships in Stuttgart, saying that "I find it objectionable if someone sees that as something bad and uses my participation as a reason to deny the accreditation to someone else. In what kind of world do we live?"

The background is that Heinz Betz is also the manager of Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner). Schumacher wants to participate in the October 3 event along with other celebrities. The announcement of Ullrich, who is still being investigated in connection with Operación Puerto, being at the event as well, did not go down well with the organizers of the Worlds in Stuttgart. They decided to hold the accreditation for Schumacher's managers (Betz and Gregor Braun, former German professional).

The whole ordeal has also led to Braun stepping down from his post as the ambassador to the Worlds. The organizers on their part deny the charges and say that there hadn't been an official request to get accreditation by anybody from the Schumacher management.

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