Ullrich admits to 'role' in cycling's past

cycling, Jan Ullrich, doping, Germany, Tour de France
Jan Ullrich at the 2011 Oetztaler Cycle marathon in Austria (Getty)
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Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich says he played a role in "what happened in cycling" but did not offer a clear confession to doping, like some other leading riders, including his long-time American rival Lance Armstrong.

I know the guys like Gerald (Ciolek) and Tony (Martin) personally and I can only say hats off to their achievements. I trust them and so should the fans. Our younger generation deserves a fair chance.

"Everyone can make his own opinion about what happened in cycling and I also contributed my role in that", Ullrich wrote in his blog on Eurosport.

But the German added he would not make any public confessions like Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

"I chose a path after my conviction under sporting laws that not everyone understands, but which is the right one for me. My active career dates back almost 10 years, all that counts for me and my family is the future.

"I will cope with the issue myself instead of possibly dragging those people and sponsors, who supported me during my career, into it."

Ullrich won the Tour de France in 1997 and finished runner-up five times, three times behind Armstrong. He was suspended in 2006 in the fallout from Operation Puerto in Spain and retired a year later.

He was later banned for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (2011-2013) for his involvement with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, and stripped of all results since 1 May 2005.

Ullrich also wrote that cycling has cleaned up and the sport should look to the future with its new generation of riders.

"I know the guys like Gerald (Ciolek) and Tony (Martin) personally and I can only say hats off to their achievements. I trust them and so should the fans. Our younger generation deserves a fair chance."

He also expressed concern about the role of race organisers ASO (Tour de France) and RCS (Giro d'Italia) in making the events more difficult for the riders.

"The Giro, always in the shadow of the Tour de France and, of course, envious of the advertising revenue of the ASO, increases the number of mountain stages each year. The number of flat stages can be counted on one hand.

"The same applies to the Vuelta. At Tirreno-Adriatico the peloton had to cope with gradients of nearly 30 per cent. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue."

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