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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Ullrich handed drugs ban
Jan Ullrich won the Tour de France in 1997
Ullrich was given the minimum sentence
Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been suspended from racing for six months after failing a drugs test.

The German cyclist tested positive for amphetamines in June while recovering from a knee injury.

The German cycling union (BDR) revealed on Tuesday that the Team Telekom rider will face a six-month competitive ban - half the maximum available suspension.

He was also fined 2,000 Swiss francs (870), the BDR said in a statement.

A three-man disciplinary panel ruled that Ullrich did not take the amphetamines to enhance his performance and therefore imposed the minimum penalty, the statement said.


I am absolutely convinced that Jan will be fully back next season
Wolfgang Strohband
Ullrich's manager

The rider accepted the results of the test, saying earlier this month that he had taken "two little pills" during a night out with friends to alleviate depression during his rehabilitation from surgery.

"Ullrich did not take the amphetamines to enhance his performance," said Peter Barth, a Frankfurt lawyer who headed the disciplinary panel.

Barth added that Ullrich's explanation was credible and that he took the pills because of "mental stress".

Team Telekom officials said before the verdict that they were uncertain about the star's future.

"Right now, Jan doesn't know himself whether he will come back as a cycling professional," team chief Walter Godefroot was reported as saying.

But Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband said that his client, who is currently in the USA, had expected a six-month ban and would overcome the setback.

"I am absolutely convinced that he will be fully back next season," Strohband said.

"It's not clear yet how long Jan will remain in the United States. When he comes back, the first thing will be to take care of his knee," Strohband said.

"But nothing has changed in his intention to win the Tour one more time," he said.

The 28-year-old, who won the Tour de France in 1997, will actually be out for eight months as his suspension period includes November and December, when there are no major events.

He will be eligible to resume racing from 23 March next year.

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"I don't think Jan was doing anything performance enhancing"
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07 Jul 02 | Cycling
03 Jul 02 | Cycling
11 Jun 02 | Cycling
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