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Ullrich’s doctor expresses confidence in rider

Jan Ullrich’s doctor told German radio on Thursday that the 1997 Tour de France champion was not a drug user and had probably consumed something which contained the amphetamines he tested positive for last month. Heinz Birnesser added it was illogical the 28-year-old Olympic champion would have been taking drugs when he was not even competing and was recovering from a knee operation. "Ullrich was definitely not doped," he told German radio. "He must have taken the amphetamines without knowing,” Birnesser said. “Someone probably put them in a drink without wishing to do him harm. To be

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002

Jan Ullrich’s doctor told German radio on Thursday that the 1997 Tour de France champion was not a drug user and had probably consumed something which contained the amphetamines he tested positive for last month.

Heinz Birnesser added it was illogical the 28-year-old Olympic champion would have been taking drugs when he was not even competing and was recovering from a knee operation.

“Ullrich was definitely not doped,” he told German radio.

“He must have taken the amphetamines without knowing,” Birnesser said. “Someone probably put them in a drink without wishing to do him harm. To be doped doesn’t make any sense when one is a long way off even training like Ullrich. To take stimulants when one is undergoing physiotherapy is totally illogical.

“However we must await Ullrich’s explanation for how he came to fail the test,” he added.

For his part Ullrich, a four-time runner-up in the Tour de France, refused to comment on the failed test.

“I am not going to say a single word because even one could be too many,” the East German-born rider said.

Ullrich’s Telekom team manager Rudy Pevenage said he was convinced Ullrich was innocent.

“Jan is tested at least five times a year by the German anti-doping commission (ADK) and there has never been the slightest problem,” he said.

The result from Ullrich’s B sample will be known on Friday evening.

The failed test is just the latest bad news this year for Ullrich. Aside from his knee problem he was convicted of a drunk-driving incident in May which cost him two-and-a-half month’s wages.