German former professional cyclist Jan Ullrich may lose his Sydney Olympic medals after recently confessing to blood doping, according to a report from AFP.
Ullrich admitted to blood doping in an an interview with German weekly Focus on Monday, saying he “had access to treatment from [Eufemiano] Fuentes”, the Spanish doctor at the heart of the 2006 Operacion Puerto investigation. In April, Fuentes was sentenced to a year in jail for performing blood transfusions on cyclists.
“At that time, nearly everyone was using doping substances and I used nothing that the others were not using,” Ullrich said, but insisted he had used no substances other than his own blood.
As a result, he could be stripped of his road race gold medal and time trial silver medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, according to Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Federation and a vice president of the International Olympic Committee.
“We’ll check everything again carefully and meticulously,” Bach told German daily Die Welt.
Bach said Ullrich’s “so-called confession was nothing more than confirmation of facts that have already been held in Sports court rulings and in court cases. However, we will look again at exactly where the starting point was.”
According to IOC regulations, an athlete can only be stripped of a medal in the eight years after the event, but that seems to be more of a guideline than a rule. Lance Armstrong’s third place in the 2000 Olympic time trial was cancelled after he confessed to doping in January.
Ullrich losing his medals would put him in some exalted company. As well as Lance Armstrong, top Italian Davide Rebellin lost his 2008 road race silver medal after testing positive for CERA and Tyler Hamilton handed in his 2004 time trial gold medal to the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2011, before being formally stripped of the title in 2012.
Should Ullrich lose his Sydney 2000 title, the gold medal would pass to 2012 Olympic road race champion Alexandre Vinokourov. Vinokourov served a two-year ban from 2007 to 2009 after testing positive for homologous blood doping (taking a transfusion from another person) in the 2007 Tour de France.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.