Retired cyclist Jan Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour de France and finished second to Lance Armstrong four times, was banned for two years and had results between 2005 and 2007 voided after being found guilty of blood doping.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced the decision in an e-mailed statement today. It said the German’s DNA was matched to blood bags seized by police in a 2006 anti-doping investigation in Spain.
Cycling ruling body Union Cycliste Internationale had sought a life ban for Ullrich, who quit as an elite rider in 2007. The court’s decision comes three days after it stripped Alberto Contador of his 2010 Tour title and suspended him for two years for failing a drug test.
Ullrich beat Richard Virenque of France by 9 minutes, 9 seconds in 1997, and was runner-up on five occasions, including four times when record seven-time champion Armstrong won the race. He was among nine riders suspended from the 2006 Tour after Spanish police linked them to “Operacion Puerto,” or “Operation Mountain Pass.”
The German will lose his third place finish at the 2005 Tour, among other results.
Ullrich was fired by his then team T-Mobile following the link and quit cycling at age 33, saying the allegations against him were wrong. He had served a six-month ban for testing positive for amphetamines in 2002, which he said was down to taking drugs on a night out.
World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines say athletes should receive a life ban for a second offense, although the Swiss court stopped short of that sanction. It ruled that since 2002, amphetamines are only classified as a doping offense if found in an athlete’s system during competition.
Contador was stripped of his 2010 title after the court rejected the Spaniard’s argument he tested positive for clenbuterol because he ate a contaminated steak. The panel said it was more likely the stimulant detected in his body during the race came from a tainted food supplement.
U.S. investigators interviewed members of Armstrong’s former U.S. Postal team the last two years after one of them, Floyd Landis, said doping was widespread on the team. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour victory for doping.
Armstrong has denied doping, and federal authorities said Feb. 4 that the Texan and other team members are no longer the subjects of a criminal probe.
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