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 Friday, 20 December, 2002, 17:13 GMT
Ullrich 'nearly quit'
Jan Ullrich
Ullrich is the reigning Olympic road race champion
German cyclist Jan Ullrich says he came close to retiring from the sport after testing positive for amphetamines.

The 1997 Tour de France champion, who admitted taking ecstasy on a night out while recovering from knee surgery, was suspended for six months earlier this year.

His ban ends on 23 March, 2003.

I've had nine good offers but I'm still to sign a contract

Jan Ullrich

"I made mistakes. I was frustrated because my knee wasn't healing and that's why I did some stupid things," the 29 year old told Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But being suspended was unjust. My ban was not down to doping.

"For three or four days I even thought about calling it a day.

"Then my friends convinced me to take a long holiday as far away as possible.

"I went to Canada and after a while I realised I wanted to continue my career in cycling."

Ullrich, a four-time Tour de France runner-up and the reigning Olympic road race champion, said he is now concentrating on getting his fitness back.

"I feel confident and want to prove myself once again in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia."

The German does not yet have a deal with a team for next season but says he has had plenty of offers.

"I've had nine good offers but I'm still to sign a contract," he said.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself and so I will continue to examine every detail.

"I want to be sure about my decision."

See also:

15 Oct 02 | Cycling
26 Sep 02 | Cycling
04 Sep 02 | Cycling
23 Jul 02 | Cycling
Links to more Cycling stories are at the foot of the page.


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