GENEVA, May 21, 2014 (AFP) – Germany’s only Tour de France winner Jan
Ullrich was allegedly almost three times over the drink-driving limit when he
crashed his car and injured two people in Switzerland, a newspaper reported
“I’m sorry. Thank God that nobody died,” the retired star, who last year
admitted to doping, was quoted as telling Swiss tabloid Blick.
“I was under stress, I was coming from an appointment and I wanted to get
home as soon as possible,” added Ullrich, who lives in Switzerland.
Police in the Thurgau region, where Monday night’s crash occurred, said in
a statement that a man responsible for a crash failed a breathalyzer test and
was stripped of his driving licence on the spot.
The test revealed a level of 1.4 grams of alcohol per litre of blood. The
legal limit in Switzerland is 0.5 grams.
Follow up tests were due on blood and urine samples, police said.
According to Blick, Ullrich said that he was driving 20 kilometres (12
miles) per hour over the speed limit.
“My God, this could happen to anyone,” Blick quoted him as saying.
The newspaper said that he was categorical that drink was not to blame for
the crash, which occurred outside the village of Mattwil in northern
“There wasn’t any alcohol involved,” Ullrich said.
Contacted by AFP, Thurgau police declined to name Ullrich.
“We never give any information about the identity of people involved people
in a case of a car accident,” they said.
In the statement, they said simply that a 41-year-old driver failed to
brake in time at a junction and crashed into the back of another vehicle which
had pulled up at a stop sign.
While Ullrich turned 40 last December, it is standard practice for Swiss
police to give a person’s age according to their next birthday, if it falls in
the year in which an incident occurs.
The car that was hit was thrown into a field, overturned and then came to
rest on its wheels, while the 41-year-old’s car went on to collide with
another vehicle and also went off the road.
Two people were taken to hospital. The police said the driver to blame for
the crash was not injured.
The accident caused tens of thousands of Swiss francs (euros, dollars) of
damage, police said.
A photograph distributed by police showed the road littered with plastic
debris and covered in skid-marks.
A silver Audi A6 — which Blick said was Ullrich’s — stood in a field next
to the road with its bumper caved in.
On the other side was a red Citroen C3, the rear of which had taken the
impact of the crash, while a white Alfa Romeo remained in the middle of the
Ullrich, who retired in 2007 having won the 1997 Tour, admitted for the
first time in June 2013 to doping during his career with transfusions, using
his own blood, by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
The German, who also won road-race gold and time-trial silver medals at the
2000 Sydney Olympic Games, said he was motivated by the desire to compete
against his rivals on a level-playing field.
In February 2012, Ullrich was found guilty of a doping offence by the Court
of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) and retrospectively banned from August 2011 and
all his results since May 2005 were removed.
Now Ullrich lives with his wife Sara and three sons on the shores of Lake
Constance in Switzerland.