BERLIN (AP) — Hours after receiving a two-year ban for blood doping, 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich admitted on his website that he had "contact" with the Spanish doctor who ran the doping program he was accused of participating in.
Ullrich did not directly acknowledge doping but said he would not contest Thursday's ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Ullrich said on his website that he accepted the ban — "not because I agree with every point in the reasoning for the ruling, but because I finally want to put an end to the issue."
The CAS ruled that the German was "fully engaged" in Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes' doping program, exposed in the Operation Puerto probe. The court stripped him of his third-place finish at the 2005 Tour. Ullrich retired from racing in 2007.
"I confirm that I had contact with Fuentes. I know that this was a big mistake, which I regret very much," the German rider said.
"In retrospect, I would act differently in some situations during my career," Ullrich said.
The 38-year-old Ullrich said he was relieved the long judicial process was finally over and that he had no intention of returning to professional cycling in any way, while being active on the amateur side.
After winning the Tour in 1997 and finishing runner-up five times, Ullrich said he was under "enormous pressure" in 2006 from "the public, the sponsors and myself."
"Everyone wanted a second Tour victory, especially after the retirement of Lance Armstrong," Ullrich wrote.
Thursday's verdict fell nearly six years after Spanish police raided clinics alleged to be providing doping services to athletes working with Fuentes.
Ullrich was suspended weeks later from the 2006 Tour de France, before being fired by T-Mobile.
In his statement, Ullrich said he wanted "to openly admit the mistake I made" shortly after the suspension, but "my hands were tied."
"At the advice of my lawyers, as usual in such cases, I remained silent," Ullrich said.
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