By Agence France Presse
Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich consulted Eufemiano Fuentes, the Madrid gynecologist at the center of the Operación Puerto doping case, 24 times between 2003 and 2006, Der Spiegel said in a report to appear on Monday.
Der Spiegel‘s report was based on a 2,219-page investigation into Ullrich by German police which concluded that the rider “used Dr Fuentes doping system to improve his performances.”
Ullrich visited Madrid on 24 occasions for consultations with Fuentes, it said.
German police uncovered a wealth of information on the hard disk of the home computer of Belgian Rudy Pevenage, former sporting director of the Telekom and then T-Mobile cycling teams. Pevenage is currently employed by the U.S.-based Rock Racing team.
The police established that Pevenage had himself visited Madrid 15 times between December 2003 and April 2006, very often just before training camps and staying only a few hours.
According to the report, Ullrich paid Fuentes 80,000 Euros and stepped up his visits (eight between February 2005-May 2006) ahead of the 2006 Tour de France.
The German was, however, unable to take part in that edition of the Tour because his T-Mobile team was forced to suspend him on the eve of the race after links were established between Ullrich and Fuentes. Both Ullrich and Spanish teammate Óscar Sevilla were left off of the Tour roster as T-Mobile carried on in the race with only seven of nine riders slated to participate. Ullrich has retired and Sevilla now rides for Rock Racing.
Pevenage acknowledged that Ullrich had consulted Fuentes “around four to six times a year between 2004 and 2006” but not, as far as he was aware, for blood transfusions.
“It was to receive treatment for carrying too much weight, to drop from 84 to 76 kilograms in four weeks,” explained Pevenage.
Ullrich won the 1997 Tour de France and was a multiple runner-up behind American seven-time winner Lance Armstrong before retiring from cycling after being sacked by his T-Mobile team in 2006.
According to Der Spiegel, the Rostock-born Ullrich earned 8.5 million Euros between 2003 and 2006.
The 35-year-old now lives in Switzerland with his wife and two children and takes part in charity cycling events and car racing, his new passion.