Ullrich may have no choice in DNA test

By Susan Westemeyer

More details of the German investigators' search of houses and offices relating to the Fuentes doping scandal emerged Thursday, and word came out of Spain that the officials there were prepared to supply blood samples to their German counterparts for a DNA comparison.

German investigators searched homes and offices belonging not only to Jan Ullrich, Wolfgang Strohband and Rudy Pevenage, but also to former T-Mobile team manager Walter Godefroot. Godefroot confirmed the search but said, "I was treated as a witness and not as a suspect." The 63-year-old Belgian is now an advisor to the Astana Team.

Pevenage's house was said to have been searched by eight investigators for 2 hours. "I don't know how it will go further. I'm still waiting. I haven't heard anything from the Belgian federation or the UCI. But life goes on," he said. He couldn't explain what the police might have found by him or by Ullrich. "You always have to be a little worried," he said.

The search of Wolfgang Strohband's home and offices took eight hours. "My attorneys have protested," he said, and is sure that no incriminating documents were found in his possession. "There was nothing that would have anything to do with these groundless accusations."

According to Bild magazine, a total of 15 Swiss and German officials conducted the search of Ullrich's house in Scherzingen, Switzerland. The German cyclist was not at home, as he was on his honeymoon. The couple has now returned home. "My wife Sara and I are deeply affected by the search and confiscations, which have been thoroughly reported in the media. Because of these events we have broken off our honeymoon and returned home," Ullrich said on his website, www.janullrich.de. "My attorneys have been instructed to discuss the case with the prosecutors in Bonn."

The German prosecutor's office will report on the results of the raid "in several weeks" at the earliest, said prosecutor Fred Apostel. "We have material in paper form as well as data and will begin with the analysis. We don't have any comment at this time as to possible results."

In other news, it was announced Thursday that the Spanish judge in charge of the Fuentes case, Andres Serrano, is prepared to help the German investigation. Spokeswoman Elis Beni Uxabal told the dpa press agency that he is "in principle prepared to deliver a blood sample to the prosecutors in Bonn." The blood sample would be taken from the bags of blood which the Spanish investigators believed to have come from Ullrich.

"The beginning of September a member of the Bonn staff was in Madrid and asked for evidence. But there is still no official request upon which the judge could act." The blood plasma which has been taken into custody is in the doping control lab in Barcelona, and a result of their analysis is not expected before the end of the month.

The German investigators will have a DNA sample from Ullrich to make the comparison, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper reports that investigator took DNA traces from Ullrich's house during the search.

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