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  Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Ullrich fails drugs test
Germany's Jan Ullrich in action during the 2001 Tour de France
Ullrich was recovering from a knee injury
Germany's 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has failed a drugs test.

The director of Team Telekom, Walter Godefroot, said the team's cyclist had tested positive for an amphetamine while training after a knee operation.

"I can confirm the (positive) test," Godefroot said. He declined further comment.

A week ago Ullrich vowed to start training this week less than a month after undergoing surgery on his troublesome knee.

The injury forced him out of this year's Tour de France, due to start on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Olympic road race champion was aiming to return to action in the Tour of Spain in September.

Ullrich's rehabilitation was marred by a drink-driving incident which cost him two-and-a-half months' wages two weeks ago.

Ullrich began his career in the then East Germany and has long been a major force in the sport.

High profile victories, apart from the Tour de France, include the Tour of Spain in 1999 and the Olympic road race in Sydney in 2000.


I'm surprised and very disappointed
Jean-Marie Leblanc
Tour de France director

The German has also come second every year in the Tour de France since his victory,

Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc said the positive test was the mark of "a disturbed man".

He said: "I'm surprised and very disappointed. You have to ask why an athlete who is not competing needs to take drugs.

"I'm disappointed because if it's confirmed that it was a substance close to amphetamines that's probably connected to a moral crisis which relates to what we were told by Ullrich when he had his drink driving accident."

But Leblanc refused to close the Tour de France door on Ullrich once this situation has been resolved.

"If he's done something wrong obviously he'll be punished.

"Once his punishment is over the Tour de France will deal with Ullrich like it dealt with the others, I'm thinking in particular here of Richard Virenque."

Virenque is back in the event despite admitting in court to systematic doping while with Festina.

 WATCH/LISTEN
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27 Jun 02 | Cycling
02 Jul 02 | Sports Talk
27 Jun 02 | Cycling
25 Jun 02 | Cycling
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