Jan Ullrich's failure to convince T-Mobile that he has no links with Eufemiano Fuentes has cost DerPIC BY TIM DE WAELE
In a note on his personal website, Jan Ullrich has confirmed that T-Mobile have terminated his contract - a decision which Ullrich has said that he "doesn't want to accept". T-Mobile confirmed the move today, announcing that Ullrich and Sevilla had been sacked as a result of their failure to adequately explain why their names appear in the now infamous Operaction Puerto doping dossier.
"With Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla offering no proof of their innocence, it was a necessary and logical step to terminate their contracts," said T-Mobile boss Olaf Ludwig in a press release.
"We are very disappointed that we have had to take these steps," team spokesman Christian Frommert added. "However, the information available to us left us with no other option. We respect Jan Ullrich's claim that the presumption of innocence must prevail for him as it does for everyone else , but sport and in particular cycling have given themselves certain ethic and moral rules which are also documented in the rider's contract."
Ullrich and his entourage have reacted angrily to the announcement, arguing that his sacking is "without foundation". Ullrich's manager, Wolfgang Strohband, said this afternoon that "if a meeting [with the team] planned for next week doesn't bring about a reconciliation, we'll fight this decision in the courts".
Ullrich's lawyer, Ulrich Theune, said simply that "the sacking has no basis". Ullrich called T-Mobile's action "shameful". "I find it shameful that after so many many years of good work together and after all that I've done for the team, I'm being treated like a fax number."
The news of Ullrich's sacking came soon after an announcement by his former T-Mobile boss, Walter Godefroot, that he is set to return to the sport working in an advisory capaicty for the Astana team led by another former T-Mobile stalwart, Alexandre Vinokourov.
"Alexandre Vinokourov asked me to put my experience at Astana's disposal in order to develop a stable and competitive structure for the end of this season and next season," said Godefroot, who was often critical of what he saw as Ullrich's lack of professionalism. "I accepted with pleasure as long as I don't have to have responsibility at the sporting and financial levels," Godefroot added.