ULLRICH AND T-MOBILE DEFEND TOUR PLACE
Jan Ullrich has insisted he is not linked to the Spanish ‘Operation Puerto’ drugs investigation and is determined to ride the Tour de France with T-Mobile.
On Monday Spanish newspaper El Pais suggested that the code names of ‘Jan’ and ‘Hijo Rudicio (Son of Rudy) found on documents and bags of blood seized during the investigation linked the German to the Madrid doping ring.
El Pais said a total of 58 riders were involved and claimed ‘Hijo Rudicio (Son of Rudy) referred to Rudi Pevenage, Ullrich’s coach and directeur sportif.
After the request by the Tour de France organizers to the Astana-Wurth team not to turn up in Strasbourg for Saturday’s opening stage, there was speculation that Ullrich and T-Mobile could be in a similar situation.
However both Ullrich and the team denied this.
"I have nothing to do with this," Ullrich said, while Rudi Pevenage added: "There’s nothing behind these allegations."
T-Mobile’s Director of Sports Communications Christian Frommert said the team were investigating.
"These are serious allegations. We are in contact with all parties involved, from Ullrich and Pevenage through to the Spanish investigators and the Tour organizers ASO," Frommert said.
"We are investigating how these allegations have arisen. By now we have only seen newspaper articles. The full facts of the case and evidence supporting it are still unclear.”
According to the German team the Tour de France organizers have assured them that they would not try to stop Ullrich riding in the Tour unless hard proof showed Ullrich was involved in the Spanish drugs ring.
“Any decision must hold water,” T-Mobile press officer Luuc Eisenga said.
“So far, we only have a newspaper article, but nothing else.”