February 26, 2007
Ullrich hangs up cleats without license or contract
Jan Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour and was 2nd four times, announced his retirement from pro cycling today, amid continuing problems stemming from his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto.
Ullrich was among the riders excluded from the 2006 Tour the day before the prologue. He was dropped by T-Mobile as a result, and is under investigation by both the German and Swiss cycling federations.
“All these wrong allegations really put me down,” the 33- year-old German said today at a press conference in Hamburg broadcast by n-tv. “My career as an active cyclist is definitely over.”
Ullrich said he has taken a job as consultant and representative to Austria's Volksbank team.
In his career, Ullrich never finished the Tour de France lower than 4th place. In 2005, his most recent Tour, he was 3rd behind Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso, another rider implicated in Operación Puerto, but who is now racing for Discovery Channel after being cleared by the Italian cycling federation.
“I never once cheated as a cyclist ... I still don't understand why I was not allowed to compete in the Tour last year.”
Also lists his full palmares, including a Vuelta win in 1999, two world time-trial championships, an Olympic road gold, and two overall victories in the Tour of Switzerland.
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I checked back into the bike racing world to get the info on Levi and the Tour of CA and find out that Jan has made his announcement.
No story book ending here - this is a sad day.
Posted by: Rex at Feb 26, 2007 8:02:30 PM
In europe it is guilty until proven innocent. Maybe he's guilty, maybe not; we'll never know because the european style judiciary has convicted by fiat, holding up his licensure. But to have wiped out his career without formal charges or a forum in which he can rebut is unconscionable.
Getting jerked around judicially is a european problem that dates back several centuries at least; it was so much a problem in the 18th century that the US made it a tennant of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Yes, these right have been trampled over the years, but think where we'd be if we had started out along the european pathway.
Posted by: nevins at Mar 5, 2007 2:40:36 PM
Nevins puts it well. Jan Ullrich's career has been destroyed without any Due Process of law whatsoever. Trashed by administrative fiat. We should all be as depressed as Jan is and wish him well.
Perhaps there is something in modern European law, which has had some infusion of Anglo-American jurisprudence over the last many years, which could give Jan some legal recourse for damages. A very good lawyer might help, if he is indeed innocent. Such a case could be importaant. Prevailing might seriously slow down this type of hurtful foolishness and deter future such problems.
Posted by: Kimball Corson at Mar 5, 2007 7:15:43 PM