Monday, February 26, 2007

Jan Ullrich Bids Adieu

It's official, Jan Ullrich has called it quits.

Ullrich announced a press conference last week for the 26th of February - and from then on speculation was rife as to what he was set to announce - was he going to announce a signing for a new team, retirement, retirement plus a move to a managerial position? When it came time, the sum was a retirement and a wholesale slamming.

At Ullrich's 43-minute long press conference today in Hamburg, Ullrich announced his retirement, and took dead aim at all of the authorities he feels screwed him over.

Eurosport has extensive dialogue from the announcement and starts with Ullrich's comments on the announcement of the Puerto findings on the eve of the Tour de France: "It was one of the darkest days of my career. When the news broke, I thought it was a nightmare. I was in my room on my exercise bike when I heard I was suspended. At that moment my sporting world collapsed. It was a massive shock that I still haven't quite come to terms with yet. To this day I don't understand how I and some of my colleagues were suspended." Ullrich called the UCI actions following the news, "over-reaction."

"The world governing body has shoved all the responsibility and the dirty work over to the national federations. Apart from me, everybody has been acquitted. They are all riding again. But when somebody does actually get cleared, the UCI comes crawling out of their hole and refuses to accept it!

Ullrich couldn't stop himself from lambasting the UCI at every turn, and if he's right - correctly: "The basis for the premature conclusions that have been drawn is a report that the UCI has obtained illegally from Spain. This report has been falsified several times, there are differing versions. Apart from that, certain people's own opinions and interpretations have gone into it. And the compilers of the report are now being legally investigated in Spain."

It follows then that Ullrich isn't too terribly confident in what will happen with his DNA sample that he submitted a few weeks ago.

"I would have liked to be heard, just as was the case with Basso. Nobody rang me up, nobody wanted to speak with me. I couldn't give my opinions, and give my side of the story to the federations. I found that ridiculous."

Logically, Ullrich's aim then transferred to his favorite Swiss Cycling Federation: "For eight months now, the Swiss federation has been purporting to have exclusive material against me. It's being said that Jan Ullrich will be given a life suspension. But I ask myself, where is this material? And why has no trial been brought against me?"

"I have got nothing to be ashamed about, and have never cheated or deceived anyone in my career. And yet I still feel like a criminal." - by Jered Gruber

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