The Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been handed down a suspended 21-month prison sentence by a Swiss court, which found him guilty of drunk driving.
Ullrich was found to be ‘heavily drunk and medicated’ when he crashed into two cars in the village of Happerswil in Switzerland.
He has also been ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,700).
There were no injuries, but Ullrich was found to be driving at over 130kmph in an 80kmph area.
Tests showed sleep medicine as well as high levels of alcohol in the 1997 Tour winner’s blood.
"The limits are the same for everyone, whether he is a top athlete or a normal person," the judge said according to Blick newspaper.
His silver Audi A6 station wagon is said to have rear-ended a Citröen C3 Pluriel at a stop sign . The Citröen flipped over from the force of collision, while Ullrich’s car then hit an Alfa Romeo 147 before ending up in a field.
Speaking to the newspaper shortly afterwards, Ullrich claimed that alcohol had not been involved, although he admitted that he had been driving around 20km/h too quickly.
“I’m sorry. I was stressed, coming from an appointment, and wanted to go home as soon as possible.”
"It's inexcusable to have driven in the state I was in. It was a terrible mistake, and I deeply regret it," he commented.
This is not the first time that Ullrich has been in trouble for drink driving. In 2002 he lost his driving licence for a year and was fined two months’ salary following another incident.
On that occasion, he knocked out a rack of bikes with his Porsche 911 outside a Freiburg hotel in the early hours of the morning. He fled the scene, but a witness took the number of his car and informed the police. When they took a blood sample from him, he was found to have three times the permitted level of alcohol in his blood when driving.
Initial reports said that Alexandre Vinokourov was also in the car, but this proved not to be the case. However, ex-world tandem champion Erk Pokorny was, along with two girls.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.