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WORLD SPORT

Ullrich dismissed by T-Mobile team

story.ullrich.jpg
Ullrich had found form in the build-up to this year's Tour de France.

BERLIN, Germany -- Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been fired by his T-Mobile team, the German has confirmed.

Ullrich was forced out of this year's Tour at the last minute after his name was linked to a major doping scandal in Spain.

The 32-year-old has always protested his innocence in the affair and a statement on his personal website said that his dismissal was "unacceptable."

Ullrich's personal manager Wolfgang Strohband added that the sacking was "unfounded" and would be appealed.

The 2000 Olympic road race champion has allegedly used the services of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes whom Spanish police believe is at the heart of a doping network.

T-Mobile teammate Oscar Sevilla and CSC's Ivan Basso, like Ullrich one of the favorites for the 2006 Tour, were also implicated and among a bath of riders not allowed to start in Strasbourg on July 1.

T-Mobile general manager Olaf Ludwig confirmed the news of Ullrich's sacking during the 18th stage of the race between Morzine and Macon, saying that it had been put in writing the previous day.

"I am very disappointed that this decision was not communicated to me personally but that it was faxed to my lawyers," Ullrich added.

Ullrich had been under contract with T-Mobile until the end of the year and this year's race was considered his best chance of victory after finishing runner-up five times since his 1997 triumph.

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