10 Feb 2012

Ullrich banned for two years

5:19 am on 10 February 2012

Retired former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been found guilty of doping in relation to a blood-doping scandal that engulfed his sport six years ago and has been banned for two years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling comes three days after they banned another former Tour winner, Spaniard Alberto Contador, for doping.

The Operation Puerto scandal broke in 2006, when Spanish police launched raids that uncovered more than 200 code-named blood bags, some of which were linked to cyclists.

Ullrich, who retired in 2007 after also winning an Olympic gold and silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Games, became the first German to win the Tour de France in 1997.

The rider, a huge sports name in his home country during his prime, also finished second in the world's greatest race on five occasions, three times behind seven-times champion Lance Armstrong.

With his name linked to Operation Puerto, Ullrich was barred from starting the Tour de France in 2006 and was then fired by his T-Mobile team although he repeatedly denied he had links with Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the heart of the investigation.

CAS, however, ruled that, based on the evidence, Ullrich, who had waited for more than five years for a final ruling, had engaged "at least" in blood doping.

The court also annulled all Ullrich's results from 2005 until his retirement.