Just three days after Alberto Contador was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the same body has banned 1997 winner Jan Ullrich for a period of two years, the suspension backdated to 22 August 2011. Ullrich retired in February 2007, but the announcement is likely to result in more unwelcome headlines for cycling. The 38-year-old has also been stripped of results from 1 May 2005 onwards, including his third place behind Lance Armstrong in that year’s Tour de France.
That means a podium place will go to former Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne rider Francisco Mancebo, who had finished fourth in that race, while Ullrich also loses his overall victory in the 2006 Tour de Suisse, where the runner up was the now retired former Saunier Duval rider, Koldo Gil. The German also loses his final Grand Tour stage win, an individual time trial in the 2006 Giro d’Italia.
In November last year, CAS had said it lacked jurisdiction to rule on a lifetime ban sought by Swiss Anti-Doping against Ullrich, who had raced under a Swiss licence while a resident of the country.
Today’s decision relates to a separate action brought by world cycling’s governing body, the UCI after the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Olympic ruled in 2009 that it did not have the necessary jurisdiction to sanction Ullrich with regard to his involvement in the blood doping ring broken up by the Operacion Puerto in Spain in 2006.
Ullrich, the first German to win the Tour de France, who also finished second to Marco Pantani in 1998 and again to Lance Armstrong for three years in a row from 2000, was barred by organsisers ASO from taking part in that year’s Tour and sacked by his T-Mobile team the following month.
In a statement published today, the CAS said that the evidence showed that Ullrich had visited Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, who himself is due to stand trial in Spain in connection with Operacion Puerto “on multiple occasions,” that he had paid him €80,000 and that his DNA profile was a match for blood contained in bags seized by the Spanish authorities. As a result, it concluded that he had "engaged at least in blood doping in contravention of Article 15.2 of the UCI Anti-doping rules."
The UCI had argued for a lifetime ban, claiming that Ullrich’s links to Puerto constituted a second offence – in 2002, he had received a six month ban after testing positive for amphetamines. The CAS rejected that argument however, since a subsequent change in rules means that the substance in question only constitutes an anti-doping offence if found in a sample taken in an in-competition test, which wasn't the situation in Ullrich's case.
The UCI had also sought to have all of Ullrich’s results annulled from 29 May 2002, but the CAS instead fixed the date as running from 1 May 2005, “as it is established that Jan Ullrich was fully engaged with Dr Fuentes's doping program at least from that date.”
The CAS statement added that “The Panel also expressed its surprise that Ullrich did not question the veracity of the evidence or any other substantive aspect of this case, limiting his defence to procedural issues.”
The full award can be found here.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.