FanDuel - WFBC

February 26, 2007

Ullrich hangs up his cleats.: After failing to find a team for the new season, and persistent doping allegations that refuse to go away, 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich announces his retirement. Ullrich was caught up in the Operacion Puerto doping case last year, and despite numerous other cyclists being given the all-clear, Der Kaiser has chosen to call it a day.

posted by afx237vi to other at 10:30 AM - 6 comments

It's a shame that Ullrich and others feel they must cheat in order to be successful. Hopefully his role as advisor will not include how to cheat on drug tests.

posted by FonGu at 02:06 PM on February 26

Ullrich had all the potential in the world and didn't have the hunger and willpower to harness it. Most cyclists will never accomplish what he did - but almost everyone in the sport sees his accomplishments as falling short of his potential. Armstrong beat him mentally before the race even started in every TdF from 1999 to 2005. I do think the drug control policies in cycling are broken when accusations and innuendo from Operacion Perto force Ullrich and others out of the sport. I'm all for strict enforcement and policing the sport - but there needs to be some balance that allows the accused to defend himself before being tried and convicted in the media. Simply having a vague reference ("Rudi's boy") without any corroborating evidence does not prove that Ullrich was ever guilty of doping.

posted by BikeNut at 02:49 PM on February 26

I do think the drug control policies in cycling are broken when accusations and innuendo from Operacion Perto force Ullrich and others out of the sport. I'm all for strict enforcement and policing the sport - but there needs to be some balance that allows the accused to defend himself before being tried and convicted in the media. Simply having a vague reference ("Rudi's boy") without any corroborating evidence does not prove that Ullrich was ever guilty of doping. What BikeNut said. WADA triumphant.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:06 PM on February 26

It's a shame that Ullrich and others feel they must cheat in order to be successful. Hopefully his role as advisor will not include how to cheat on drug tests. Well, Ullrich has never actually been caught doing anything wrong, and I am a big fan of his, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. As BikeNut says, I think it's pretty damn sad that his career has ended this way. Forced out by speculation and innuendo. The whole Operacion Puerto saga has been a complete farce since the beginning, and now looks like fizzling out completely without a single thing being done combat to doping. Careers have been ruined. As for Ullrich, he was a great bike riders and I disagree with the people who say he wasted his talent. In the Tour, he was just unlucky to ride during the Armstrong era, but he still has a great palmarès. A Tour, a Vuelta, an Olympic gold, two World titles and numerous other wins... not a bad haul at all.

posted by afx237vi at 03:16 PM on February 26

I agree that Jan was unlucky to peak at the same time Lance did. Having been beaten so many times by Lance, I think Jan simply resigned himself to being forever second on the podium. This may have led him to train and stay fit a bit less during the offseason. Perhaps because he was always second, Jan came across as a bit less robotic than Lance to me. Maybe Jan didn't train hard enough, have the same level of coaches and the "methods" they brought (see Michele Ferrari) as USPS/Disco did or maybe he just wasn't as good. Pro cycling is hurting in a bad way. It appears as if the Puerto investigation will be swept under the rug just as the Festina scandal was in the 90's. Now the major UCI/Pro Tour rift is adding to the chaos. Hopefully out of all of this will come a new generation of riders who rely a little less on doping and can bring some integrity back to the sport. Regardless, I remain a fan and anxiously await this weekend's Het Volk race and the rest of the spring classics.

posted by JohnSFO at 03:33 PM on February 26

Put me in the "Jan underachieved" camp, though it's possible that he was simply very good and not great.

posted by jackhererra at 07:11 PM on February 27

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