Jan Ullrich brushes off fresh doping allegations

German says there were no visits to Dr Fuentes

Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich on Tuesday brushed off the latest doping allegations against him and repeated his assertion he will speak only when he is ready.

On Monday, German magazine Der Spiegel cited a police investigation report which states Ullrich went to Madrid 24 times between 2003 and 2006 to see doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the man at the centre of the Spanish probe Operation Puerto.

Ullrich won the 1997 Tour, but having been sacked by his team T-Mobile in the wake of the affair in 2006, the 35-year-old retired in 2007 and has always denied all doping allegations.

"More than three years after my last race as a professional cyclist, this is a repetition of known allegations from an already provocative source without proof," said Ullrich on his website. "I don't want to fuel the debate, but as I have said before, I will give my view of the issue when I want to."

Der Spiegel's report was based on a 2,219-page investigation into Ullrich by German police which concluded that the rider "used Dr Fuentes doping system to improve his performances".

Ullrich visited Madrid on 24 occasions for consultations with Fuentes, it claims.

German police uncovered a wealth of information on the hard disk of the home computer of Belgian Rudy Pevenage, former sporting director of the Telekom and then T-Mobile cycling teams.

The police established that Pevenage had himself visited Madrid 15 times between December 2003 and April 2006, very often just before training camps and staying only a few hours.

According to the report, Ullrich paid Fuentes €80,000 and stepped up his visits (eight between February 2005-May 2006) ahead of the 2006 Tour de France.

The German was however unable to take part in the 2006 Tour because his T-Mobile team were suspended on the eve of the race after links were established with Fuentes.

According to Der Spiegel, the Rostock-born Ullrich earned €8.5 million between 2003-6.

The 35-year-old now lives in Switzerland with his wife and two children and takes part in charity cycling races and car racing, his new passion.

© AFP 2009

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