Jan Ullrich, Olympic gold medalist and winner of the legendary Tour de France ’97, admitted to doping. The confession is even more shocking because Lance Armstrong’s long-time rival has denied using illegal substances for years.
Jan Ullrich is a living legend of cycling. He has two Olympic medals – gold and silver – and four world championship medals – three gold, one bronze. He is also the winner of the 1997 Tour de France. Additionally, he finished the Tour de France in second place four times. Now all his achievements are in question because the cyclist has just confessed that he has been doping for years.
At one time he was probably Lance Armstrong’s biggest rival. Interestingly, although today it is officially known that Armstrong was doping at the same time as Ullrich, the American did not suffer any consequences in one of the largest doping scandals, Operación Puerto, which also covered disciplines other than cycling. In turn, Ullrich was excluded from participating in the Tour, and in 2012 the Court of Arbitration for Sport punished him with a two-year suspension and the annulment of all results obtained since May 1, 2005.
For almost 20 years, Jan Ullrich kept his regular doping use a secret and denied the accusations despite the penalties imposed on him. Now he openly admits to doping. The athlete revealed the truth before the premiere of the documentary about his own life.
– I don’t know if it can be understood today. At the time it all seemed completely normal. There was a belief that racing without doping was like going to a gunfight armed only with a knife. I was guilty and I feel guilty […] I can honestly say that I really didn’t want to deceive anyone. I didn’t want to have an advantage. Those were different times. Cycling already had a certain system that I was familiar with. For me, it was a kind of leveling of opportunities – said Jan Ullrich during the discussion panel of the film.