BERLIN, Aug 29, 2010 (AFP) – Germany’s 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich is to become a father again in February, just weeks after being diagnosed as suffering from burn-out and denying he has an alcohol problem.
The 36-year-old and his wife Sara are expecting a second child to join their three-year-old son Max.
“Yes, we are expecting our second baby,” Ullrich told Bild on Sunday.
“We do not want to know what it will be. We don’t know if it is a boy of a girl, the main thing is that the child is healthy.”
This will be Ullrich’s third child having already had a seven-year-old daughter with his ex-girlfriend.
Ullrich has been under a dark cloud since May 2006 when he was linked to the Operation Puerto raid which exposed him to a doping scandal and saw him sacked by his team T-Mobile that July.
He announced his retirement in February 2007 and has repeatedly insisted he is innocent.
Ullrich announced this month he has withdrawn from public life and is being treated for burn-out then later denied he is suffering from alcohol abuse.
The burn-out diagnosis comes after a ruling against him a fortnight ago by a German court over a dispute with anti-doping campaigner Werner Franke.
A Hamburg state court dismissed a suit by the rider, who was trying to stop Franke from making claims that he had paid Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes for doping products.
Ullrich is being treated for exhaustion and has asked to recover in peace as the couple prepare to be parents again, which is positive news after some difficult weeks.
“I feel that everything is getting better,” he said.
On his website, he denied rumors he is battling a problem with alcohol.
“I want to make it clear that I do not suffer from an alcohol problem,” he wrote on janullrich.de last Tuesday.
“Such allegations and insinuations are absolutely not true.
“People do not leave us in peace. Suddenly there have been the wildest rumors.”
Ullrich says the recent pressure has effected his wife.
“The rumors put pressure on my pregnant wife,” he said.
“We now have a responsibility for another human life and she just now needs rest.”