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Ullrich gets sick of losing

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Ullrich gets sick of losing

Postby joelamosobadiah » Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:45 pm

Ullrich hanging it up wrote: HAMBURG, Germany -- Jan Ullrich ended his cycling career Monday but not the doping suspicions which surrounded the former Tour de France champion.

The 33-year-old German, who won the Tour in 1997 and was runner-up five times, announced his retirement eight months after being implicated in a Spanish doping scandal.

"I am ending my active career," Ullrich said. "It's not easy, but you have to listen to the voice inside you that the time is right. It was a good time and I would do it the same way again, even the bad times."

He said he will stay in the sport as a consultant for the Austrian-based Volksbank team.

Ullrich criticized the way he had been treated by cycling officials in Germany and Switzerland and by the German media.

"I feel like a serious criminal although I have nothing to reproach myself," he said. "People have made a name for themselves at my cost. Some were 100 percent lies. I wished I had gotten more support from some people, but I am not bitter."

Ullrich has been under investigation for several months in Spain's "Operation Puerto" scandal, but has not been charged. He has been without a team since being fired by the T-Mobile team last summer.

"I have a clear conscience," Ullrich said during an interview late Monday on Germany's ARD television.

Some German officials said Ullrich wasted an opportunity to deal with the allegations which have tainted his reputation.

"Today Jan Ullrich didn't add anything to clear things up," said Rudolf Scharping, president of the German Cycling Federation. "This is a finish to a career which everybody wished had ended better."

"With today's statement he has probably missed his last chance to clear up the matter," said Thomas Bach, president of Germany's Olympic and Sports Federation.

Ullrich said he was still fit and had received offers from seven teams to race this season, but had decided to move on.

"I could have had a team immediately," Ullrich told a news conference, accompanied by his wife and mother. "But when one door closes, three more open. I'm not going to jump off a bridge. I'm a young man who knows what he wants."

The Spanish probe followed a raid by authorities last April on a Madrid clinic which allegedly provided performance enhancing drugs to 57 top riders.

The investigation led to Ullrich, a pre-race favorite, being expelled from last year's Tour de France -- a day he called the "hardest" in his career.

"My world broke together a little, honestly," Ullrich said. "It was a shock I still haven't completely recovered from. It was an overreaction -- it was an unprecedented prejudgment through part of the press and the cycling organizations."

On July 20, he was dismissed by T-Mobile and hasn't raced since.

Ullrich said he is only under investigation in Germany, where a professor has accused him of fraud against the public.

He was angry at the Swiss Cycling Federation, saying the organization left the impression publicly it was ready to ban him for life. His last cycling license was issued in Switzerland.

"I ask myself where this evidence is," Ullrich said. "For eight months I've been asking myself that."

Ullrich said he would work as a media consultant with Volksbank and will also be active in the team's young riders' program. He said Volksbank offered a large budget for other riders that he would bring with him.

"That really impressed me," he said.

Ullrich trained in the former East Germany and emerged as a top rider in 1996 by finishing second at the Tour de France. The following year he became the first German winner of the Tour, setting off a cycling boom in his homeland.

Ullrich also won a gold and silver at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Some predicted Ullrich would dominate cycling for years, but Lance Armstrong eclipsed him by winning seven times in a row. Ullrich had weight problems in the offseason, while his teams publicly accused him of lacking discipline in training compared to Armstrong.

Team Telekom dropped Ullrich in 2002, and his driver's license was revoked for drunken driving when he plowed his car into a row of bicycles. He served a six-month ban after a positive test for amphetamines. Ullrich said the drug was laced into an ecstasy pill he took during a visit to a nightclub.
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Postby m16a » Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:46 pm

interesting. very interesting. i know little of this. i have heard of Jan Ullrich though.
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Postby sportsaddict » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:12 pm

Cycling is an absolute joke. You can't even compete without doing some kind of steroids/performance enhancing drugs. I hope Lance Armstrong was clean but you never know.
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Postby Mercer Boy » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:08 pm

Too bad for Ullrich...one of those guys who is around at the worst time when someone is completely dominating a sport and always seems to play second fiddle. He was definitely the second best cyclist for at least 5 years there, but Lance would always beat him. He did win one Tour at least, so good for him.
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Postby knapplc » Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:03 pm

Mercer Boy wrote:Too bad for Ullrich...one of those guys who is around at the worst time when someone is completely dominating a sport and always seems to play second fiddle. He was definitely the second best cyclist for at least 5 years there, but Lance would always beat him. He did win one Tour at least, so good for him.

Ain't that the truth. I've been a fan of the Tour for years and years now. I remember when he first broke on the scene and I remember all those years of frustration at the hands of Lance.

I ESPECIALLY remember "The Look" on Alp d'Huez - perhaps the single most amazing piece of daring and domination by one man over his rival. Alp d'Huez is an uncategorized climb, meaning that it's so steep that they don't give it a number in racing. It's beyond tough even for these guys. So Armstrong has been biding his time all day just hanging in the pack until they get on the hill, then he takes off up to where Ullrich is riding, passes him, then turns around and gives him this look:


Then Armstrong takes off, and Ullrich is completely unable to match the move.

Lance goes on to win the stage and build a huge lead over Ullrich, sealing the Tour right then and there for all intents and purposes.

The killer thing about it is, Ullrich was pretty much the #2 man in the cycling world back then without question. It was Lance, Jan, then a bunch of other guys back in the pack.

But Armstrong proved then and there that the gap between #1 and #2 was LARGE.

I watched The Look live when it happened, and it sent chills up my spine back then. It still does the same today. What a great, awesome, career-defining moment for both Armstrong and Ullrich.

That's why I love bicycle racing. ;-D
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