Lance Armstrong should have his seven Tour de France victories reinstated due to the prevalence of doping at the time, according to former cyclist Jan Ullrich.
“I would give Armstrong the Tour victories back. That’s how it was back then,” Ullrich told the current edition of Sport Bild magazine. “It doesn’t help anyone to draw a line through the winners’ list.”
Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, finished second to Armstrong on three occasions – in 2000, 2001 and 2003 – but the German declined to stake a claim for his former rival’s stripped titles. “I only want victories that I’ve experienced on the bike. I don’t want to win anything at the green table,” he said. Armstrong, the dominant cyclist of his generation, acknowledged in January that he doped for all seven of his Tour wins from 1999-2005. He was subsequently stripped of the titles.
Ullrich admitted to Focus magazine in June that he received blood treatments from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
“But I’d said that already a thousand times. There was nothing new in that,” said Ullrich, who was stripped of third place in the 2005 Tour and banned for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February last year.
Last month, a French inquiry uncovered proof Ullrich used EPO when he finished second to 1998 Tour champion Marco Pantani, who also used the banned blood-booster. Pantani died from a drug overdose in 2004.
Ullrich was unapologetic when asked why he had not come clean about his doping past before.
“I decided differently,” he said. “In hindsight, perhaps I would have done some things differently. But I am no god that can see everything and do everything right.”
The 39-year-old Ullrich, who retired from racing in 2007, said he wanted to “firmly believe” that cycling is now a cleaner sport.