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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Ullrich sacked over doping probe
Jan Ullrich denies any involvement in the Spanish blood doping scandal
Ullrich was suspended the day before the Tour began
Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla have been sacked by T-Mobile after being linked to a major blood doping investigation.

The pair were excluded from this year's Tour by the team over the allegations.

Ullrich, 32, has denied any wrongdoing and described the decision as "unacceptable" on his official website.

"I am very disappointed that this decision was not communicated to me personally but that it was faxed to my lawyers," he added.

Ullrich's agent Wolfgang Strohband said the German would appeal against the decision, unless a deal was reached with the team in a meeting planned for next week.

T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig said in a team statement: "As Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla didn't make any moves to prove their innocence, terminating their contracts was the logical and necessary follow-up to their suspension."

T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert added: "We made this decision because we believe, looking at the information provided by investigators, that Jan Ullrich is implicated in the Spanish doping affair.

"However Ullrich has not returned a positive doping test."

Ullrich has been accused of using the services of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes whom Spanish police claim is at the heart of a blood-doping network.

Fuentes was one of five men arrested by the Spanish Civil Guard in May following the lengthy investigation, nicknamed Operation Puerto.

He has defended his methods, which involved removing blood from a patient and freezing it.

The patient's body then automatically creates more red-blood cells to make up for the deficiency before the removed blood is reinjected giving their body a further boost.

A series of addresses were raided during the investigation, where anabolic steroids and packs of frozen blood were found.

In the fall-out, the Astana-Wurth team were forced to withdraw from the Tour de France after five of their riders were named among a list of 56 cyclists by the investigation team.

In all, 13 riders were withdrawn by their teams from the Tour, including Ullrich.

T-Mobile sporting director Rudy Pevenage was also suspended a day before the start of this year's Tour and has since been sacked.

Ullrich, who had been under contract with T-Mobile until the end of the year, had earlier pulled out of several lucrative post-Tour races in Graz, Austria, and two German races at Mayrhofen and Lorch.

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