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Jan Ullrich insists cycling is now doping free

Expressed enthusiasm for new wave of German riders

Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, believes that mass doping is a thing of the past. Speaking to the German publication, Bild, he said that “the black time of cycling is behind us.”

Ullrich was one of the riders who came under suspicion in 2006 when Operacion Puerto uncovered the work of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and he has since admitted blood doping.

“I hope the riders have learned from our mistakes now,” he said. “I want to believe that and I want to believe in the innocence of the riders."

When André Cardoso’s positive test just prior to the Tour was pointed out to him, Ullrich said: “That’s a pity, but this is one of 200 professionals in the peloton. There is always a black sheep, which apparently still has not got it.”

Ullrich also expressed enthusiasm for Marcel Kittel’s success after his countryman took five stages in this year’s race.

"It is very fortunate for German cycling to have someone like Kittel, who unfortunately is in a Belgian team instead of a German one. Anyway, he has awakened a new enthusiasm for cycling in Germany."

The Tour de France returned to free-to-air TV in Germany in 2015 after being dropped in 2011 due to a succession of doping scandals involving German riders that resulted in ratings plummeting.

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