Jan Ullrich says Lance Armstrong Tour victories should be reinstated: "That’s how things were"

German doper says American doper should be recorded as beating all the other dopers

by John Stevenson   August 1, 2013  

Jan Ullrich riding for T-Mobile (picture credit Heidas:Wikimedia Commons).jpg

German former pro cyclist Jan Ullrich, winner of the 1997 Tour de France, says that Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories should be restored.

Ullrich was Armstrong’s great rival during much of the American’s 1999-2005 run of Tour wins, and came second to him three times.

After the US Anti-Doping Agency found that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs through the entire period, he was stripped of all his victories, including his Tour wins.

“If it were up to me, I’d give Armstrong back his victories in the Tour,” Ullrich told German news magazine Bild.

Ullrich pointed out that it would not be the first time a Tour winner has had his title removed then restored. Bjarne Riis - now owner of the Riis Cycling team currently sponsored by Saxo Bank and Tinkoff Bank - had his 1996 victory stripped after he admitted doping, then restored a year later.

Riis and Ullrich were team-mates at the Telekom team at the time, and Ullrich’s support of Riis in that 1996 Tour saw him finish second overall. The following year the roles were reversed as Riis turned super-domestique and supported Ullrich to his only Tour win.

Both riders, most of their team-mates and just about every other significant pro cyclist of the era have since admitted doping.

“Bjarne Riis was given back his victory from 1996. That’s how things were at the time. It’s not helping anyone to have lines struck through the roll of honour.”

Acknowledging the issues of the time, the Tour de France organisers and cycling’s governing body the UCI have not nominated anyone as the winner of the Tours stripped from Armstrong.

Ullrich made it clear he does not want to be considered the winner of the Tours in which he was originally the nominal runner-up.

“I just want the victories that I obtained on the bike. I don’t want to win anything by default.”

Ullrich was one of the riders who came under suspicion in 2006 when Opercion Puerto uncovered the blood doping services provided by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

In June he admitted being a client of Fuentes.

“But I’d said that already a thousand times. There was nothing new in that,” he said.

When asked why he had not come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs before, Ullrich simply said: “I decided differently. In hindsight, perhaps I would have done some things differently. But I am no god that can see everything and do everything right.”

67 user comments

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700c wrote:
@Colin Peyresourde, yes, penalising Armstrong was correct, but simply punishing him more because he was the most successful doper is farcical.

But that is not what happened! Travis Tygart has said that Armstrong could only have got a two year ban maximum, and kept five TdFs, if he'd been prepared to concede there was a case to answer. It was only Armstrong's stubborn arrogance that got him a life ban.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 16:58

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@ 700c, I don't think it is farcical at all. I think it actually shows some sense of political sense. If you think that all the peloton are doing drugs then going after the most successful (and most likely the most abusive person) you are saying 'this is what could happen to you if you dapple too much with these things'.

If you dope, and you win, you should be afraid....

As I said early, it'd be great if they could get everyone, but they can't. Picking off the Danilo Di Luca's, Mauro Santambrogio's, and Sylvain Georges' of this world are small fry. You have to send a message to the big boys: We are watching you.

Down the stretch, riders will realise that they need to be wary about their doping - if you do nothing to Armstrong, it is business as usual. It's not a perfect world, and it is not a perfect solution, but it does send a message.

Just like to say that I'm not surprised that there were no +ve results at the TdF. The sport doesn't need the scandal right now, and it would only make Froome's win farcical in extremis (at their 100th anniversary too). But I suspect the TdF organisers are very hot on teams to discourage this sort of thing.

If you don't think politics has a part to play flush out your head gear.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1110 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 17:20

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Gosh! So many words about doping!

There's obviously no simple answer, so I won't try to offer one.

Nevertheless, I do think all the Tour winners' rostas look weird with blanks where discredited riders' names used to be, no matter which mag or website publishes them. Would it be such a bad thing if the names were reinstated with something - an asterisk, a different colour - to denote that they came first but were subsequently found to have been breaking the rules?

But maybe that's too easy?!?

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [63 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 18:05

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Treat it like the hour record. Doped and not doped Smile

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [483 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 18:24

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Heres an Idea: why not give the award of those years to someone who Toured France once for leisure, or an amateur who did a stage following the route the next day. or someone who cycled to the local shop who happened to be in France. I know it sounds funny and ridiculous (because I want it to be). Its no more ridiculous than what Ullrich is suggesting IMO. Thinking

posted by BenS [2 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 18:44

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Simple put their names back in but in a different colour and after the name in brackets the words "doper,cheater. After all how do you know if the person who came second 22nd or 82nd were clean ? Yes some riders will have been but because of people like LA how can you take someones word they were clean.

Let their named go down in history as cheats not just blank results pages.

Titles should still be officially stripped from them, and especially for people like LA who so aggressively attacked those accusing him criminal charges and prison sentences should be standard.

Ulrichs point would be more valid if LA had not been so aggressive in suing people and ruining their lives to cover up what can only be described as his criminal activity ( criminal because he knew it was not allowed and yet still did it and gained financial gain from doing it.

LA is different from cases such as Pantani because he had the choice to retire rather than accuse those telling the truth of being liars and instigating legal action, yes his position with sponsors etc left him little choice other than to retire which is what he should have done.

Before anyone flames me I was a massive LA fan and when hearing reports always had the view in his defence that yeh if he is taking drugs that enhanced his performance, if those drugs were because of the cancer he had suffered from which nearly killed him then so be it let him continue after all what was the alternative oh sorry race and you risk death from the cancer returning!

I now hope he goes to prison and losses everything he has gained. The only ones I feel sorry for are the people who he so vigorously attacked when they accused him and his children.

posted by SPEED098 [7 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 18:52

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Whether you think Ullrich is a dick or Armstrong is a bully is irrelevant. The point being made is that the rules are not being applied consistently which makes more of a mockery of the UCI. Take rider 1's titles away but let riders 2,3,4,...... etc keep theirs although they all doped. That just makes matters worse.

Andy

posted by jazzdude [59 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 19:36

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There should be an amenesty or truth and reconciliation commission for cycling. It's obviuos that most of the top pros who were in cycling up until recently doped and that fact is a massive elephant in the room stopping cycling moving forward. Let them get it off there chest, wipe the slate clean and then enforce a "one strike and you're out" attitude to doping.

posted by LeDomestique [34 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 19:38

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Armstrong brutalized Filippo Simeoni and he became a pariah in the peloton. I really feel for this guy trying to do the right thing.

posted by Rgriffith7 [8 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 20:31

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When the " Cr#pfight " dies down , Lance will once again be recognised , too hard for the ASO to overlook the financial benefits !

my comment elsewhere which is at the root of the whole problem :

" jim burn aka phat the rat mc q who is attempting to emulate the " dear leader " & robert mugabe is reaping what he sowed last December 2012 !

When he reviews the 1970s and his contempt for IOC Rules & Regs , should he be surprised that he has earned the ire of ALL Stakeholders ?

My comment elsewhere :

" WAS unaware of the 90 day rule until now ! However , i am not paid Salary to uphold the UCI Constitution , jim burn ( who thinks he is a combo of mugabe & “the dear leader “) aka phat the rat , certainly draws Salary , even if he chooses a devious course !

My petition today :

http://t.co/9ZAGyfohiI

deserves support , yet because people have to reveal their name , appears to be a non starter !

When phat is returned as President , it will give me great satisfaction to see people squirming for they are the beneficiary of his unethical behaviour in the future !

You reap what you sow ! Inaction will result in a lot of whining !

HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO SIT BACK and let events pass you by ?

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

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posted by skippy [383 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 20:42

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jazzdude wrote:
Whether you think Ullrich is a dick or Armstrong is a bully is irrelevant. The point being made is that the rules are not being applied consistently which makes more of a mockery of the UCI. Take rider 1's titles away but let riders 2,3,4,...... etc keep theirs although they all doped. That just makes matters worse.

Can you give me an example, using names instead of numbers, of this inconsistency?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 20:43

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Good point.

posted by dogcc [101 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 20:48

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So what if some riders respond better to drugs or can afford better drugs? Some riders respond better to training than others. Some teams can afford better bicycles and technology than others - Sky and British Cycling being two good examples. Its never going to be a level playing field even if its completely drugs free. If it was I would be a contender for a TdeF victory. Instead I'm resigned to puffing up the hills last in the local leisure rides.

posted by Tony [66 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 21:51

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Is Lance different? Well yes because he went beyond cycling, built a publicity machine, talked (and then untalked) of running for governor of Texas, like Jesus was resurrected from cancer, and was a household name. And he turned all of that into a lot more money too. So while it is technically correct that he was just one among many dopers (and personally I think the reason for his ultra low positive test rate was because he kept his dosages within common sense bounds unlike Floyd Landis), the reason for his long fall is because he himself built his castle in the sky. He reaped the infamy that he himself he sowed. The others were no more than simple cyclists.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [100 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 23:40

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Sorry, that should be "the other were no more than simple cheating cyclists"

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [100 posts]
2nd August 2013 - 23:41

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Apologies to Sastre, I thought Rasmussen was '08, but in fact he was '07, he dropped out and gave C*ntador his first win. So Sastre was clean but Colin has his 'doubts', just as some doubt Schleck, Sky boys Wiggins and Froome.

So there we have it, the only clean modern Tour winner is Evans, because he looks like he is dying all the time. It is obviously too easy for everyone else.
Can we get Decster back to pass comment on Evans?


Leviathan of Riderstate

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1233 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 0:02

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@ The Rumpo Kid -

They've already been mentioned elsewhere in this post. Riis, Ullrich, Zabel, Pantani, Virenque.

Andy

posted by jazzdude [59 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 1:39

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Simon E wrote:
bikeboy76 wrote:
Hinault? Okay IS there anyone, ANYONE who crossed the line first before 2011-Cadel Evans known to be clean?

Greg LeMond - 1986, 1989, 1990
Carlos Sastre - 2008

Neither has ever been linked to doping, which is as near to 'knowing' as you'll get.

As for the "level playing field", the answer is no. It has been shown repeatedly that doping does not create a level playing field - partly because each individual reacts differently but also due to dosing and varying levels of knowledge/expertise. Some would only use EPO (and then only some of the time), others may also use HGH, Cortisone etc etc. while Armstrong repeatedly made the whole team do whatever shit he thought they should in order to win. He ensured the playing field in his Tours was anything but 'level'!

While Jan has a point, and part of me thinks it's reasonable, but it's only his opinion. It's up to the organisers and sport's administrators to decide what should be done.

@Rumpo - are you saying Nibali is a doper? You're in a very small minority.

@bikeboy76 - Sastre, Evans, LeMond but no one's mentioned Indurain?? I know he did test + for Salbutomol in '94 but was given exception by the UCI

posted by 37038 [11 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 10:00

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jazzdude wrote:
@ The Rumpo Kid -

They've already been mentioned elsewhere in this post. Riis, Ullrich, Zabel, Pantani, Virenque.


In February 2012 Ullrich was found guilty of doping. All results since May 2005 were removed from his palmares. His 1997 TdF win cannot be taken away because of the Statute of Limitations, which also means that whatever other evidence comes to light, Pantani, Zabel, and Riis cannot be removed from record books. (Much to ASO's displeasure.)

The Statute of Limitations does not apply in Armstrong's case because of his refusal to deal with USADA. This may have been ego on his part, or the fear that during the arbitration process more serious activities on his part would have come to light. Either way, and Travis Tygart has said this, had he gone into arbitration the Statute of Limitations would have applied, and the worst that could have happened would have been a two year ban and loss of two Jerseys. Exactly the same as Contador, in fact.
You may think Armstrong is a victim of some inconsistency, personally I think he is a victim of his own actions.

All of which brings us, in a rather roundabout way, to marmot-fancier Richard Virenque.
Well to start with, he never tested positive. (Sound familiar?)
Although this sort of statement is good enough for fans of doping cyclists, it certainly isn't good enough for me, and I have strong suspicions Virenque may have knowingly doped at some time. However the chances of bringing him to account for this are remote at best, given that Virenque lacked Armstrong's facility for turning everyone he met into potential witnesses for the prosecution. And until Virenque can be charged with something other than being on a doping team, it looks like he's got away with it. It's frustrating, but there is no inconsistency in the application of sanctions.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 15:51

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Broadly I agree with Jan, forget it, move on. They were all at it and we (more or less) knew they were. lots and lots of hypocrisy surrounding criticism of Armstrong. Plenty of fans and well respected journalists will call for Armstrongs head and then get all misty eyed about Pantanti.

I know some people like to believe that LA was somehow improved more by dope than the other dopers, but there's zero evidence for that and it's just wishful thinking. I'd say the reason Jan lost more often than not to LA was that he turned up overweight almost every year

It's just the way it was, it was wrong but it's changed so just move on.

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [183 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 15:52

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Forget it, move on. Isn't that what we were all asked to do about the Festina affair? The problem is that cycling has only been clean for three years. And always has been.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 16:42

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Just feels different now though Rumpo ? We went from Festina to LA, Pantani etc. It wouldn't have been a shock if they all got busted in say, 2001. If Nibali, Wiggins, Froome etc got busted now it'd be totally shocking, to me anyway

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [183 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 16:50

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What I'm saying is the way the sport deals with a scandal is to draw a line under it and move on. To the next scandal, and a line is drawn under that one too. Three positives in this years Giro have me as anxious as ever. I hope the sport is getting cleaner, but hope is all any of us can do until the problem of doping is properly addressed.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 17:03

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crazy-legs wrote:
Quote:
How about as new award Highest Documented Clean Rider.

Might want to revise that to:
"Highest rider who, at time of writing, had not yet been caught"

Wink

Quote:
I agree with Ullrich - his tour victory should be removed as well.

Either you strip every doper ever caught of ALL their victories or you just leave it alone. You can't try doing both. Can't strip LA of his but leave Pantani, Ullrich, Riis, Virenque, Zabel free to walk off.

Everyone or no-one. And if you're going to do the stripping victories thing, there's going to be one hell of a lot of blank pages in the next Tour history book...

[commentator]"And the stage winner is Cippolini, oh no, Zabel! Oh no, he was at it too. Err, Abdoujaparov! No. Bollocks. Err..."[/commentator]

Couldn't agree more, and if the UCI were to strip every rider who doped of every title there would be no history what-so-ever. If anyone thinks all the greats - Anquetil, Merckx, Coppi, Indurain, Hinault never doped they are sadly deluded. Everyone doped and it was a level playing field so get over it. However I am glad that doping is becoming a thing of the past as the long term harm it can do to riders is very clear.

posted by Dropped [33 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 17:14

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Jan - you've got to love him. He's a sort of teutonic village idiot; a buffoon on and off the bicycle.

-- Hey, how many gears have you got? .. Just one! ... Mate, your bike sucks! --

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posted by brylonscamel [20 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 23:07

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Not sure I agree with the idea that as all were doping it was a level playing field so reinstate the records because the best doper won. It sounds fair but the fact of the matter is doping is not a level playing field. It is done in secret and as such the level of doping varies foprm one rider to another.

He who doped most wins? I don't think that is an acceptible solution. He who doped least wins? Well who knows what form of doping was or has ever been going on from one individual to another. Was Armstrong only blood doping or was he taking other drugs and to what doseage? We'll never know as his doping records are unavailable. Even if they were available no one would trust the accuracy of them.

Doping goes back a long long way in professional cycling and I suspect sponsors have known about it or condoned it since their involvement in the sport. Some amateur sports supporters would cite professionalism as the reason for the doping in the first place.

You can't really blame the pro cyclist completely. The whole structure of pro cycling is to blame. If your living is reliant up on your securing pro team membership because prize money is too small and only limited to a small pot then sponsors will employ people who will get the win or media coverage they seek at any cost and without any concern for the sportsman.

I fully understand peoples view regards the hypocracy of the UCI, stripping some dopers of titles and not others, then reinstating in some cases or only stripping titles from the recent past and not the distant past. It does stink. How far back would they go if they start stripping more titles? None of the so called Cycling Greats; Mercxx, Indurain, Anquetil, etc., the list is endless have spoken about there involvement or, indeed, how they rode clean. Their silence speaks volumes.

I'm not convinced about reinstatement because the world of cycling is so much bigger now than it ever was so nothing can be done without huge media attention and it would seriously undermine what little credibility the UCI still has. What is done is done.

I do believe that the UCI should state that it regards all participants in all their pro events up to 2005 to be likely dopers to some degree and that Armstrong's extraordinary abuse of an abusive system singles him out for particular punishment as a way of sending a message to sponsors and riders alike. Thinking

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
4th August 2013 - 16:18

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I have strong suspicions Virenque may have knowingly doped at some time

He admitted it. It's one reason I find it bizarre that Eurosport in France still use him so much. That said, it was quite funny when they had him riding up Alpe d'Huez saying how much harder it was than when he was a pro... I wonder why Wink

As far as Lance goes, he's a "victim" of his own behaviour. If he'd copped for it and cooperated he'd have lost two jerseys and probably not have the lifetime ban. However, personally I'm glad he behaved according to type and has been publicly outed as a bully and a cheat. His treatment of riders who spoke out ruined careers and for that, at least, he deserves everything he gets.

posted by atlaz [154 posts]
5th August 2013 - 8:35

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Armstrong was the pinnacle of doping. Hopefully we are moving down the other side now. Ullrich's comments were - regardless of his belief, irresponsible. I think the sport needs to clear out the UCI with the next election and move on from this period working hard to look forwards.

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
5th August 2013 - 9:30

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My "suspicions" remark was irony. Perhaps I should have said "I am suspicious that Virenque willingly and intentionally took drugs," and that would have been a more accurate criticism of Richard's stance. Still stinks to high heaven. I'll agree the UCI should have done more about Virenque when they could, but there is no double standard in their treatment of Virenque as opposed to Armstrong. They did all they could to help Armstrong get away with it as well.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
5th August 2013 - 11:52

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It's the dirtiest race there is and has been since it's inception. Huffing ether, rubbing cocaine into the gums, drinking rum all to numb the pain of the demands placed on the riders.

If they were all at it then it was a level playing field and a wins a win in my book.

If racers currently aren't "doping" they most certainly are taking medical science and pushing it as close to the line as possible.

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
5th August 2013 - 14:39

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