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Ullrich tight-lipped on retroactive Tour wins

German cyclist Jan Ullrich on Friday refused to speculate whether he would be handed three Tour de France titles which seem certain to be withdrawn from US rider Lance Armstrong over doping claims.

Ullrich tight-lipped on retroactive Tour wins
Photo: DPA

“I’m not thinking about these titles. I don’t know the details of the process. I’m proud of my second-place finishes,” the 1997 Tour winner said of his runner-up spots behind the American.

Ullrich was speaking after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said Armstrong would be banned for life and stripped of all seven of his Tour titles following his decision to abandon a case against drug charges that have tainted his legacy.

Last February, Ullrich was suspended for two years for a doping violation related to a Spanish police investigation into an illegal performance-enhancing drug network and all his results after May 2005 were annulled. But his Tour de France runner-up spots in 2000, 2001 and 2003 would stand, meaning he could theoretically be declared the winner retroactively.

German daily Die Welt ran an op-ed on Friday, headlined “Whatever you do, don’t make a hero of Ullrich!” It argued that the USADA decision was a chance the sport could not afford to miss. For that reason, it should not declare Ullrich or anyone else the Tour winner in his place.

It pointed out that not only been found guilty of doping himself, he had never done anything substantial to clear up the crisis in the sport. “To make Ullrich a hero after the fact would be fatal and would contradict the message that fraud doesn’t pay,” the paper said.

Another German cyclist, Andreas Klöden could also replace Armstrong as Tour winner for the 2004 edition, after he finished runner-up.

But Klöden has also been accused of doping in 2009 by experts tasked by the University of Freiburg to probe the work of two doctors in charge of medical support for the T-Mobile team in 2006.

AFP/The Local/bk

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CYCLING

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

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On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.

 

In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.

 

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