Pubdate: Sun, 07 Jul 2002
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2002 The Register-Guard
Author: Melissa Eddy


FRANKFURT, Germany - German cycling star Jan Ullrich admitted Saturday 
taking pills in a disco the night before a doping test found him positive 
of amphetamines, insisting it was a "stupidity" and he was in no way 
seeking to improve his performance in sport.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since the results of the June 12 
test became known, Ullrich said he declined to have a second, or B test, 
and admitted to taking what he described as "two little pills" an 
acquaintance had given him in a disco.

"I accept the positive results," the 1997 Tour de France winner told 
reporters in Frankfurt. "That means that for the first time in my long 
career, I am positive."

Ullrich, sidelined since a May 28 knee operation, insisted he had not taken 
the substance in an attempt to improve his cycling, but at a period of 
personal struggle he had been going through since his injury - which has 
resulted in his first prolonged absence from competition in a decade.

"I have never used banned substances to improve my performance," said 
Ullrich, who appeared tired as he faced reporters.

The announcement by the 28-year-old German came on the opening day of this 
year's Tour de France and as doping scandals continue to shake the sport.

Germany's three-man sporting body is expected to rule within the coming 
weeks on a suspension for Ullrich.

Team Telekom stood by their star, saying while they did not condone the use 
of drugs under any circumstances, they understood that Ullrich was going 
through a personal struggle in dealing with his injury.

"He took this substance in an extreme situation," said Olaf Ludwig, 
spokesman for Team Telekom. "In this sense, we don't view this as a case of 

In early April, Ullrich and Telekom team doctor Lothar Heinrich were 
cleared of all charges in connection with the 2001 Giro d'Italia scandal, 
where police raided hotel rooms and discovered numerous banned substances 
among cyclists.

"For me it is only important that I wasn't deceiving anyone by trying to 
overtake them using drugs," said Ullrich, insisting that the situation had 
only increased his resolve to get back on his bike and win a major 
competition again.

Ullrich, a four-time Tour de France runner-up, also admitted that he has 
frequented discos and bars seeking an out from his frustration at being 
laid up for an entire season with the injury, which first surfaced in early 
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