Cyclist Ullrich swears oath he didn't dope

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 13 Nov, 2008 Updated Thu 13 Nov 2008 08:21 CEST
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Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich on Wednesday won €340,000 in back pay after denying on oath taking drugs in the early part of 2003 before a German court in Düsseldorf.

Ullrich ,who won the Tour in 1997, has long been suspected of doping but has vehemently denied doing so.

He won the damages from former team Coast, now defunct. The team had refused to pay some of Ullrich's salary in the belief the rider was not clean when he joined in 2003.

"Truth has won out," the 34-year-old Ullrich insisted afterwards.

He ended his career in February last year after being implicated in the Puerto scandal in Spain but never tested positive for any banned substance.

"I testified on oath, before God, as I am a believer," Ullrich said according to the SID sports agency.

"What more can I do. Those who know me know I told the truth 1000 percent." Asked if he had had personal contact with controversial Spanish doctor Eufemio Fuentes, caught up in Puerto, Ullrich insisted: "No."

In April, he paid a "six figure" fine to end a fraud case which had dogged him since July 2006.

German prosecutors had accused him of taking performance-enhancing drugs, leading under German law to fraud charges of alleged deception of the public, sponsors and his team.

Ullrich said afterwards: "The payment of this fine is not a recognition of guilt ... it allows (me) to free my family from the pressure surrounding this procedure.

"I never cheated anyone in my whole career nor did I prejudice anyone. I was always a loyal sportsman, my victories were the result of hard work and passion for my sport," he insisted.

Under German law, Ullrich had the option to settle the matter out of court if he paid up and duly did so. After the Puerto investigation in Spain his former team T-Mobile sacked Ullrich, pre-empting his resignation.

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AFP 2008/11/13 08:21

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