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Ullrich and doping: “If you didn’t have help, it was like shooting with a knife”

Ullrich and doping: “If you didn’t have help, it was like shooting with a knife”

Former German cyclist Jan Ullrich admitted that doping was already “very widespread” when he entered professional cycling. and that in his time “the general perception was like this “Without help, it was like getting into a gunfight with a knife.”

“I learned very early on that doping was widespread. You taught me that I’m good, with great talent, who trained with great commitment and had all the necessary skills. But they told me that if I wanted to stay there, I had to join in,” Ullrich said in an interview with the German magazine Stern. released late Monday.

Ullrich joined the then legendary Telekom in 1995 and was the first rider from his country to win the Tour de France. two years later. “The general perception at the time was that “Without help, it would be like going into a gunfight armed only with a knife.” said the Rostock-born cyclist.

Ullrich, whose life story will appear in a documentary on Amazon Prime next week, did not explicitly admit to doping. “The general attitude was: If you don’t do this, how are you going to survive in a race? So you go into the pack knowing that you’re probably one of those who has nothing, and therefore you have zero chances,” he warned.

Ullrich was suspended by his team in 2006 because of his ties to Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. and was given a two-year sanction by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2012.

For legal reasons in particular, he did not talk about doping in 2006 or a year later, when other Telekom cyclists confessed to doping. In 2006, Ullrich said he “didn’t want to be a traitor.” and a year later he faced criminal proceedings. “My lawyers advised me to remain silent. “I followed his advice, but I suffered the consequences for a long time,” he admitted.

“From today’s perspective, I should have spoken. It would have been very difficult for a brief moment, but then life would have been easier. I didn’t want to tell half-truths, let alone the whole truth. Their livelihoods, families and friends depended on it. The lawyers told me, ‘Either you go out and tear everything down, or you don’t say anything at all,'” he said.

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