Jan Ullrich named in connection with doping probe
26 June 2006, MADRID - Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich was on Monday named by the El Pais daily in connection with a Spanish probe into a doping scheme in cycling.
26 June 2006
MADRID - Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich was on Monday named by the El Pais daily in connection with a Spanish probe into a doping scheme in cycling.
According to El Pais, police are looking into whether there is a connection between seized coded blood bags and the captain of the T- Mobile team, who is a title contender at the next edition of the Tour de France which starts on Saturday.
The bags reportedly had the name "Hijo Rudicio" (son of Rudicio) written on it. According to El Pais, investigators were looking into whether Rudicio was Rudy Pevenage, Ullrich's adviser and team official at Ullrich's T-Mobile team - suggesting Ullrich was the rider involved.
El Pais said that a seized 2004 inventory list of blood bags also mentions the name "Jan."
EL Pais said it was citing secret police documents it had obtained. The daily said Sunday that 58 riders were involved in the affair around doctors and team officials, 15 alone from the former Liberty team.
"We are taking it seriously. These are grave accusations. We will contact Ullrich, Pevenage, the Spanish authorities and the Tour organization ASO," said T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert.
"We are looking into how these suspicion originated and we must react in one way or another. But we must keep cool, so far we only have a newspaper report. The facts and evidence are completely unclear."
The scandal broke on May 23 with police raids and arrests, according to Sunday's edition of El Pais following a tip-off from within the cycling community.
Physician Eufemiano Fuentes is the chief suspect along with Liberty team director Manolo Saiz, the head of a laboratory, Jose Luis Merino, and two other men. All five were arrested but later released on bail.
Ullrich's name had been mentioned earlier, but the German star protested his innocence and said he had never worked with Fuentes.
"It is outrageous to mention my name in this connection," he said at the time at the Giro d'Italia race.
According to Monday's report, the name Hijo Rudicio and the code number 1 appears in connection with six blood transfusions dating back to September 2005.
The latest transfusion allegedly took place on May 1, five days before the start of the Giro d'Italia and another was allegedly set for June 20.
In Monday's report, El Pais linked a total 17 names to code numbers. The codes were allegedly found in documents connected to Merino and could be linked to the blood bags.
El Pais said that the name Jan appeared on blood bags and receipts for doping substances which were also seized.
"The organization was smaller two years ago and the names of the riders were put on the blood bags," said El Pais.
As soon as the scandal broke T-Mobile requested written statements from all team-members that they had nothing to do with the affair. They include Spain's Oscar Sevilla, who has been named in the affair as well but said he only saw Fuentes for "performance tests."
Ullrich and Seville are to lead T-Mobile at the Tour which starts on Saturday, with Ullrich eyeing a second title following his 1997 win.
Subject: German news