A German court ruled against Jan Ullrich on Friday in a dispute with an anti-doping campaigner who accused him of paying a Spanish doctor for doping.
The Hamburg state court dismissed a suit by Ullrich seeking to prevent Werner Franke from asserting that the cyclist paid $45,000 to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes for doping in one year.
The court ruled that the statement, which Franke made in a television interview four years ago, had “to be viewed as true.”
Fuentes was the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto case, in which over 50 cyclists were implicated following raids in May 2006 that netted steroids, blood bags and blood doping equipment.
Ullrich argued that Franke’s statement was untrue and that his choice of words implied specifically he paid money for illegal substances, the court said in a statement. It rejected the arguments.
Ullrich won the 1997 Tour de France but was kicked out on the eve of the 2006 Tour, along with Italian rider Ivan Basso, because of their suspected implication in Operation Puerto.
Ullrich was fired by the T-Mobile team after being thrown out of the Tour. He retired in February 2007, and has denied ever doping. There was no immediate word whether Ullrich would appeal Friday’s ruling, which is allowed, the court said.
On Thursday, he announced on his website that he had been diagnosed with burnout syndrome and that it likely would require lengthy treatment. He added that he would withdraw from public activities completely over the coming months.