July 21, 2006 – The Olaf Ludwig Cycling GmbH (OLC) has terminated, in exceptional circumstances and with immediate effect, the contracts of professional cyclists Jan Ullrich (32/Germany) and Oscar Sevilla (29/Spain). T-Mobile International AG have also set in motion a process, which would make any letter of intent regarding Jan Ullrich’s post-racing career non-binding.
In late June Spanish investigators submitted a document that provided clear evidence that Jan Ullrich und Oscar Sevilla had tried to boost their performance through the use of banned substances. Directly after their subsequent suspension, Ullrich and Sevilla declared their intent to prove their innocence. However, right up until the time their contracts were terminated by T-Mobile and the OLC, neither had brought forward any information to exonerate themselves.
“As Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla didn’t make any moves to prove their innocence, terminating their contracts was the logical and necessary follow-up to their suspension,” says Olaf Ludwig, T-Mobile Team manager. “We are all disappointed that we had to take this course of action. However, based on the information available, no other decision was open to us”, says Christian Frommert, director of Sports communication for T-Mobile International.
In early 2004 T-Mobile International agreed to pursue a working relationship with Jan Ullrich for the period after the 1997 Tour winner’s retirement from active bike racing. However, through the exceptional and immediate termination of Ulrich’s contract, which was set to run until the end of 2006, T-Mobile International also now distances itself from this agreement.
“We respect Jan Ullrich’s view, in a constitutional state he, the same as everyone else, is presumed innocent until there exists proof to the contrary,” says Frommert. “But sport, and cycling in particular, places certain ethical, moral and contractual obligations on the riders. For this reason we believe it was necessary for Ullrich to actively cooperate with us to prove his innocence,” adds Olaf Ludwig.
Spanish investigators uncovered in May a Madrid-based doping network, which led to the arrest of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes among others. Evidence uncovered in house raids, intercepted telephone calls and SMS records have clearly pointed towards the involvement of Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage in the doping scandal. Pevenage, the former T-Mobile Team sporting director and long time mentor to Jan Ullrich already had his contract terminated by OLC in early July.