Jan Ullrich was notified Thursday that he has been formally removed from the T-Mobile Cycling Team. He was suspected of using the services of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes whom Spanish police believe is at the heart of a blood-doping network. The 32-year-old Ullrich had been under contract with T-Mobile until the end of the year, but like most pro rider contracts, Ullrich's included an escape clause, allowing the team to sponsor any rider suspected of doping.
Ullrich responded to the notice with a statement on his website: "The notice of T-mobile is not acceptable for me. I am very disappointed over the fact that this decision was communicated to me not personally, but by the T-mobile-lawyers only by fax. I find it a shame that I after so many years of good co-operation and after everything which I did for the team, how I was treated with a fax."
Ullrich promises to sue if T-Mobile doesn't change their mind.
For Ullrich, who patiently bided his time until Armstrong's retirement and for which 2006 would be his last chance at competition, this has to be a disappointing end.
With the excitement of the 2006 Tour de France, it's easy to forget about the drug scandals looming over this year's event. After the hurrahs are over this weekend, L'Equipe and other media will go back to analyzing who was associated with Doctor Michele Ferrari.