Jan Ullrich has said that he thinks the professional peloton is now doping-free, and that the ‘black time’ of cycling is in the past.
“I hope the riders have learned from our mistakes now. I think the current peloton is clean.”
When asked about the positive of André Cardoso just prior to the start of the Tour, Ullrich said: “That’s a pity, but this is one of 200 professionals in the peloton. There is always a black sheep, which apparently still has not got it.”
Ullrich, 43, was one of the former Tour winners notably missing from the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour in his native Germany in Düsseldorf.
Initially, it was thought to be a snub by the race organiser ASO, but Ullrich explained to Bild that he had declined the invitation as it clashed with his daughter’s 14th birthday party.
Ullrich rode for the German Telekom team from 1995-2002 during the peak of his career. It was an era that later transpired to be rife with doping.
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Ullrich’s great Tour rival Lance Armstrong claimed the Tour titles from 1999 to 2005, but later had them stripped after admitting to doping throughout his pro career.
Ullrich has never admitted to doping, but was implicated in the Operación Puerto investigation into the doping ring of Madrid doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found Ullrich guilty of doping in 2012, and banned him for two years in addition to stripping him of his results from May 1 2005 to July 2006. He announced his retirement from professional cycling in February 2007.