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T-Mobile rider Jrg Ludewig has admitted to having had contacts with the "doping world" in 1998 when he was riding with the Bayer Worringen team. However, Ludewig, who joined T-Mobile this season, has insisted he has never taken any performance-enhancing drugs.
After obtaining a faxed request for doping preparations dated to 1998, the team went public with the investigation on Tuesday. "Even if Ludewig wasn't riding for the T-Mobile Team at that time, the suspicion alone is reason enough for us to investigate the affair," said team manager Olaf Ludwig.
"In 1998 I took medical preparations which allowed me to improve my performances," said the 30-year-old Ludewig in a statement about the letter he admits writing in that year.
"In 1998 I enquired into medical preparations that could increase my performance. But the note about EPO on the margin is not from me! But never in my life have I used any of these products. 1998 was a very difficult year for me, I had personal and health problems. Fortunately, at an early stage in my career I was able to change my ethical and moral attitude to doping on a long term and lasting basis," said Ludewig.
He added: "I repeat, that now, as ever, I distance myself from doping. Since 1992 I have had about 70 blood and urine tests, some unannounced, and all were negative. My blood values have remained the same. My steps to increase my performance are limited to my alternative medicine practitioner, by SRM-supported training plans and altitude training at my own cost."
Ludewig, who raced last year's Tour for Domina Vacanze, is not part of the T-Mobile squad at this year's Tour. The 30-year-old joined the team at the start of the season on a one year contract.
Ludewig's statement came after it was revealed that T-Mobile had launched an inquiry into his actions during 1998. The German team have become increasingly sensitive to any kind of doping suspicion following Jan Ullrich's ejection from the Tour last Friday after he was implicated in the Operacion Puerto inquiry. Earlier this week they told three of their Tour riders - Michael Rogers, Patrick Sinkewitz and Eddy Mazzoleni - to cut their links with controversial Italian training adviser Michele Ferrari.
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