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German who was last year banned as a result of Operacion Puerto links rejects calls to admit to doping

Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong’s greatest rival during the seven editions of the Tour de France that the American won between 1999 and 2005, insists that he will not be following the former US Postal rider’s lead in making a public confession to doping.

Armstrong, last year banned from sport for life and stripped of results including those seven Tour victories, admitted to chat show host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday that he had won those maillots jaunes with the assistance of banned substances including EPO.

However, Ullrich, speaking to the news magazine Focus, maintained: "I will certainly not follow Armstrong's path and speak before an audience of millions, even though some may be demanding that or even expect me to do so," reports the website Supersport.com.

The German won the Tour de France in 1997 and finished second overall on five other occasions, three times as runner-up to Armstrong.

Tour organisers ASO have decided not to reassign the victories in the races from which Armstrong has been disqualified, instead leaving the winner’s name blank.

Ullrich, who retired in 2007, himself received two-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February last year and was stripped of results dating back to 1 May 2005, including his third-place finish behind Armstrong in that year’s Tour.

Those disciplinary proceedings resulted from the 39-year-old German’s links to Operacion Puerto, although Ullrich himself has only ever admitted to consulting with Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor at the centre of that scandal, rather than actually using banned drugs.

Fuentes and six others, including former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz, are due to go on trial next week in Madrid in connection with Operacion Puerto.

The trial, at which cyclists including Alberto Contador are expected to appear as witnesses, is due to last until March.

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.