Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2002
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2002 The Register-Guard


FRANKFURT, Germany - The 1997 Tour de France champion, Jan Ullrich, was 
banned from cycling for six months Tuesday after testing positive for 

Ullrich was given half the maximum suspension and was fined $1,400, the 
German cycling federation said.

Although officially six months, Ullrich's ban expires March 24 to take into 
account the winter offseason.

A three-person disciplinary panel decided to impose the minimum penalty 
because it determined that Ullrich did not take the amphetamines to enhance 
his performance.

Ullrich, also a four-time runner-up in the Tour de France, tested positive 
for amphetamines in an unannounced out-of-competition test June 12.

Ullrich admitted this month that he took "two little pills" in a disco the 
night before the test but denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

"I don't think Jan was doing anything that was meant to be 
performance-enhancing," three-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong 
told German public TV station ARD. "He's just a young guy. He was at a 
disco and did a stupid thing."

Ullrich has been sidelined for most of the season with a knee injury and 
was recovering from surgery when he was tested.

Officials from Ullrich's pro squad, Team Telekom, said they were uncertain 
about the cycling star's future.

"Right now, Jan doesn't know himself whether he will come back as a cycling 
professional," Team Telekom chief Walter Godefroot was quoted as saying in 
an interview with the German sports news agency SID. "Jan has often said 
things without following them with deeds. Let's wait and see how serious he is."
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