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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK
Ullrich blood in dope-probe link
Jan Ullrich
Ullrich announced his retirement from cycling last month
A DNA sample taken from former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich has been matched to blood bags seized in a Spanish anti-doping investigation.

The "Puerto" probe discovered steroids, laboratory equipment used for drug transfusions and more than 200 bags of blood in raids in Madrid and Zaragoza.

The case was closed last month when the presiding judge concluded no offences were committed under Spanish law.

Ullrich's lawyer said the new findings could be "the result of manipulation".

The German, who announced his retirement from cycling last month, has always denied doping.

His lawyers insist that the fact Ullrich's blood may have been found in the offices of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was not proof in itself of doping.

"If all that is evoked is confirmed then all that has been found is the blood of our client in Spain, but that does not in itself mean that doping took place," lawyer Peter-Michael Diestel.

"We are a long way off being charged with fraud."

Ullrich was withdrawn from the T-Mobile team before last year's Tour when he was linked with the Puerto investigation.

"I'm disappointed that Jan has to finish his career in this way but unfortunately not surprised," T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert said on Wednesday.

"When we decided to pull Jan Ullrich from the team for the 2006 Tour de France, he insisted that contrary to elements which were available to us that he had never been in contact with Fuentes.

"Information from prosecutors in Bonn proves the contrary."

Ullrich agreed in February to give a DNA sample to allow a comparison to be made with the discovered blood and the state prosecutor's office in Bonn confirmed on Tuesday the analysis had established the connection.

"The blood is Ullrich's," a spokesman said. "Further investigations will establish the other facts."

However, Ullrich's lawyer Johann Schwenn responded: "After the irregularities of the Spanish investigation and at the UCI (International Cycling Union) it is perfectly possible that the apparent discovery is the result of manipulation."

SEE ALSO
No charges in Spanish dope probe
12 Mar 07 |  Cycling
Former Tour winner Ullrich quits
26 Feb 07 |  Cycling
Ullrich will not contest sacking
25 Jul 06 |  Cycling


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