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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News flash for July 4, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ullrich tests non-negative for amphetamines

German cyclist Jan Ullrich has tested non-negative for amphetamines after an out of competition control taken on June 12 at the "Medical Park St. Hubertus" rehabilitation clinic in Bad Wiessee, where Ullrich has been since May 28. Several sources, including team boss Walter Godefroot, confirmed the test result of the A sample, which came as a surprise as Ullrich had at that stage not even started riding his bike on the road. If the B sample is also positive, then Ullrich may be suspended from racing.

Telekom spokesman Olaf Ludwig said that "The problems with his knee did not allow him to train or race, so that performance enhancement can be unambiguously excluded here."

Ludwig said that the team was of course "very concerned" about the news, but they would talk with all involved parties before making further comment.

Out of competition tests in Germany are carried out by the Anti-Doping Commission, who must report it to the German cycling federation. Telekom specify that its team members be tested five times per year out of competition.

The words "out of competition" certainly apply to Ullrich, who has not raced since January due to a recurring knee injury. The winner of the 1997 Tour de France was forced to pull out of this year's race as a result, undergoing a knee operation and subsequent rehabilitation at the clinic in Tergensee. He had planned to come back to racing later this year, but that now looks to be unlikely.

Ullrich also had his driving licence taken away for a year in June after hitting a bicycle rack with his Porsche, while under the influence of alcohol. He was fined 70 days salary, a large sum of money for someone of his earning capacity.

Jean-Marie Leblanc's reaction

The director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc told L'Equipe that he was "surprised and very disappointed" about Ullrich's non-negative test for amphetamines. "One can only wonder why an athlete who is not riding would need to dope himself. This is surely not to do with performances."

" I am disappointed, because if it is confirmed that he is positive for amphetamines, it is probably linked to a moral depression he had when we were told that Ullrich had a car accident while under the influence of alcohol.

"This is proof that unexpected tests have their usefulness. One shouldn't come and ask from the sporting powers, the directeurs sportifs and even less of the race organisers to be held responsible for out of competition behaviour of individuals. It is linked to, from my point of view, behaviour caused by the usage of narcotics.

"It is necessary to let the process go to its conclusion. If he committed a fault, then of course he must be punished. Once this sanction is carried out, the Tour de France would behave towards Ullrich as it did towards others, I am thinking in particular of Richard Virenque."

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)