Ullrich won the race in 2003, his first race back after a six-month doping ban for testing positive for amphetamines out of competition. He later was involved in the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal, with Team Telekom suspending him on the eve of the 2006 Tour de France. The German officially retired in February 2007. He finally made his doping confession in June 2013.
Although many fans, press and sponsors reacted positively to his role at Rund um Köln, "a small portion of the media obviously could not deal with it, so after speaking with the organizer, I am stepping down from the role," Ullrich said Friday morning on his Facebook page.
"After all, I don't want to damage the race," he added.
After largely staying away from professional cycling in any official capacity, he said he accepted the position only as a favour to organizer Artur Tabat. "For myself, I never wanted to return to the pro sport, since I do not need to appear on this stage," he said.