Jan Ullrich is cracking the door open for a possible return to professional cycling.
The 1997 Tour de France champion says he’s finally overcome years of substance abuse that came with alcohol, drugs, and an arrest.
Speaking with the German daily Bild, the 49-year-old German hinted he might be interested in working within the pro peloton.
“Obviously, I won’t be a team’s sporting director, but if someone needs me, I’m open to anything,” Ullrich told Bild. “Of course, I won’t force myself.”
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Ullrich’s ups and downs in his post-racing career made headlines for all the wrong reasons, but he said he’s since found help through therapy, and admitted he even tried hypnosis.
“I’ve managed to build a stable environment around me again. That brings me an incredible amount, like sport, it’s an important part of my therapy,” Ullrich said. “I also talked to psychologists and tried hypnosis once. That also helps, but not that deeply. It takes me a long time to really warm up to people so I can open up.”
Ullrich’s comments come ahead of the release of widely anticipated four-part documentary series on his life and career on Amazon Prime Video.
It’s the first time Ullrich’s publicly spoke about his turbulent career, when he went from national hero as Germany’s first Tour winner to a pariah.
“Lately there has been a lot of talk about me, positive and negative,” Ullrich said. “It’s time for me to tell my story, my whole story, how I went from being a hunter to being a target.”
Ullrich said he hopes the documentary series will serve as a way for him to tiptoe back into public life.
“I would like to take you with me on a journey through my life. With all the turbulence, setbacks, and challenges,” Ullrich said. “I hope that after the documentary, when all the questions have been re-discussed and hopefully finally concluded, maybe some doors will open again. And then I can go through life with more freedom.”