In a decision relating to the first of two appeal cases it is hearing in relation to 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has said it does not have the jurisdiction to rule on a lifetime ban that Swiss Anti-Doping is seeking to impose on the German cyclist, who formerly raced under a Swiss licence while a resident of the country.
The appeal that was the subject of this afternoon’s decision relates to Operacion Puerto, as does a separate action brought by world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, in which a decision is expected early in 2012.
Ullrich, who retired in 2007, was arguably the biggest name to be excluded from the 2006 Tour de France shortly after news of that scandal in Spain broke. He was subsequently sacked by his T-Mobile team. The first German to win the Tour de France, he finished second to Marco Pantani in 1998 and again to Lance Armstrong for three years in a row from 2000.
During his career, the Rostock-born cyclist, now aged 37, also won the world time trial championship twice, as well as the the Olympic road race at Sydney in 2000, where he also took time trial silver.
According to a statement from CAS, Swiss Anti-Doping had asked for a disciplinary proceeding to be opened against Ullrich in May 2009, requesting a life ban, but in January last year the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Olympic ruled that it did not have the necessary jurisdiction and turned down the request.
In announcing this afternoon that it, too, had rejected Swiss Anti-Doping’s request, CAS said that it did not have the required jurisdiction, “taking into account the absence of a valid arbitration agreement between Swiss Anti-Doping and Jan Ulrich to refer their dispute to the CAS.”
It added that when Ullrich had taken out a Swiss licence in November 2005, a written agreement he signed “related solely to the regulations of UCl, Swiss Cycling and Swiss Olympic,” pointing out that Swiss Anti-Doping would only come into existence in July 2008, more than two years after Ullrich had ceased being a member of Swiss Cycling.
Today’s decision does not necessarily mean that Ullrich is in the clear yet, however. CAS added that it had recognised its jurisdiction in a separate case brought by the UCI that also challenges that January 2010 decision of Swiss Olympic,, asking that the former rider be sanctioned.
The decision in that case will be announced in around six weeks’ time, in other words early in the new year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.