According to reports in the German press, disgraced German cycling star Jan Ullrich was consulting Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor whose blood doping network was exposed last year, as early as 2003.
Monday's edition of German weekly magazine Focus includes a report saying German prosecutors have seized receipts and documents which prove 1997 Tour de France winner Ullrich was travelling to Madrid to see Fuentes as early as 2003.
Ullrich retired in February 2007, having been sacked by cycling team T-Mobile in July 2006 after he was linked to Fuentes when Spanish police raided the doctor's offices in Madrid.
The German has always denied ever using performance-enhancing substances, but prosecutors in Bonn have proof Ullrich had packets of his blood stored in Fuentes' offices and had paid 25,000 euros to the Spaniard in 2004.
According to Focus, investigators also found receipts proving Ullrich paid Feuntes 55,000 euros (US$80,569) in 2006 for his services.
Five T-Mobile riders doped before stage 1 of 2006 Tour de France
Five T-Mobile riders resorted to blood doping on the 2006 Tour de France, a newspaper report claimed Saturday.
According to the Stuttgarter Zeitung, the riders made a dash to the Freiburg University Clinic in Germany immediately after the prologue of the race in the French city of Strasbourg.
There they all received blood transfusions, a practice outlawed by the world anti-doping agency (WADA).
Former T-Mobile cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz, who was convicted of doping for
testosterone in July and banned for a year by the German federation, recently admitted that he had blood doped on the 2006 Tour.
That had come just two days after 1997 winner and T-Mobile teammate Jan Ullrich had been kicked off the Tour.
© Bikeradar & AFP 2007