• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Cycling star Ullrich admits drink-drive crash
Jan Ullrich. Photo: AFP/File

Cycling star Ullrich admits drink-drive crash

Malcolm Curtis · 21 May 2014, 17:00

Published: 21 May 2014 17:00 GMT+02:00

"It's unforgivable that I got behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It’s a huge mistake, which I regret deeply.”

Police described the collision as a drink driving incident causing tens of thousands of francs worth of damage, but did not identify Ullrich as the driver at fault.

But the 40-year-old former Tour de France winner admitted his involvement in an interview with Swiss tabloid Blick published on Wednesday.

The newspaper said the German’s silver Audi A6 station wagon rear-ended a Citröen C3 Pluriel at a stop sign near the village of Happerswil in the Swiss canton of Thurgau on Monday, shortly after 8pm.

The Citröen flipped over from the force of collision, while the Audi slammed into a Alfa Romeo 147 before ending up in a field, according to the report.

“I’m sorry,” Ullrich is quoted as telling Blick.

“I was stressed, coming from an appointment, and wanted to go home as soon as possible.”

Ullrich told the paper that he was driving by his own estimate 20 kilometres an hour too fast.

“My God,” he said, “that can happen to anyone.”

He initially told the paper no alcohol was involved.

However, Thurgau cantonal police said on Tuesday that the accident was alcohol-related.

Police said they obtained a 1.4 blood-alcohol reading from the driver — almost three times higher than the legal limit of 0.5.
 
His licence was seized on the spot.

Police added the accident was caused by the driver not braking in time.

Ullrich’s accident is the latest chapter in a story of an athlete whose successful career was tarnished by doping offences.

He went on to capture gold and silver medals in the Sydney 2000 Olympics after winning the Tour de France in 1997.

But in 2006 he was barred from the classic French race amid doping speculation and he retired the following year.

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport found him guilty in 2012 of a doping offence and he was stripped of all results obtained since 2005.

Last year, Ullrich admitted to blood doping with the help of Spanish doctor Euefemiano Fuentes.

This week's accident is not the first time the cyclist has been implicated in a motor vehicle accident.

In 2002, his driver's licence was suspended after he was caught drink driving in Germany, crashing his Porsche into a bike rack.


The three cars involved in the accident were write-offs. Photo: Thurgau cantonal police

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fifa corruption scandal
Fifa bans Blatter's right-hand man for 12 years
Valcke: banned for misconduct and fined $100,000. Photo: AFP

Fifa bans Blatter's right-hand man for 12 years
18 hours ago

A Fifa tribunal on Friday banned former secretary-general Jérôme Valcke for 12 years for misconduct ranging from helping a World Cup ticket scam to fixing a television deal and destroying evidence.

Zika virus vaccines 'at least 18 months away'
The virus is being spread primarily by mosquitoes. Photo: AFP

Zika virus vaccines 'at least 18 months away'
23 hours ago

Large-scale trials for Zika virus vaccines are at least 18 months away, while establishing a possible link between the virus and two more harmful conditions will likely only take weeks, the Geneva-based World Health Organization says.

'Cannabis clubs' set for four Swiss cities
Photo: Etienne Ansotte/Belga/AFP

'Cannabis clubs' set for four Swiss cities
23 hours ago

Four Swiss cities have agreed to launch pilot projects for the creation of cannabis clubs allowing members to use the drug without penalty.

Zurich eatery charges fee for skipping main course
Photo: Facebook

Zurich eatery charges fee for skipping main course
1 day ago

A Zurich restaurant is coming under fire for charging customers an extra ten francs if they don’t order a main course.

Swiss 'restaurant' serving cats sparks outrage
Is that a skinned cat in the kitchen? Photo: Screenshot/LaTableSuisse.com

Swiss 'restaurant' serving cats sparks outrage
1 day ago

Reality or satire? A video about a Swiss restaurant serving dog and cat meat stirs up a storm.

Prince Ali condemns tactics of Fifa rivals
Prince Ali of Jordan at the Geneva Press Club on Thursday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Prince Ali condemns tactics of Fifa rivals
1 day ago

Fifa presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al Hussein in Geneva condemned the tactics of his main election rivals, raising ethical questions about their efforts to secure block support from regional football confederations.

Coe hits back at Nestlé's sponsorship termination
Former Olympic gold medalist track athlete Coe at a press conference in Doha last month. Photo: STR/AFP

Coe hits back at Nestlé's sponsorship termination
2 days ago

Sebastian Coe, head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has angrily hit back at Swiss company Nestlé's move to terminate its sponsorship of the scandal-hit organization, insisting he will not accept the decision.

Zurich Insurance boosts layoffs after profit drop
Zurich's headquarters. Photo: Zurich Insurance

Zurich Insurance boosts layoffs after profit drop
2 days ago

Zurich Insurance is planning to cut 8,000 jobs worldwide between now and 2018, including 750 positions in Switzerland, after announcing a drop in profits for 2015.

Prison guard and Syrian escapee 'likely off to Syria'
Prison guard Angelica Magdici posing with the suspected getaway car. Photo: Zurich cantonal police

Prison guard and Syrian escapee 'likely off to Syria'
2 days ago

A female Zurich prison guard and the Syrian inmate she helped escape from his cell have probably fled to Syria, according to the guard’s husband.

Nestlé drops sponsorship of athletics body over scandal
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Nestlé drops sponsorship of athletics body over scandal
2 days ago

Swiss-based food giant Nestlé has terminated a sponsorship programme with world athletics' governing body (IAAF) over fears that the corruption and doping scandals surrounding the sport could damage the company's reputation.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
City of Geneva to translate information into English
National
Female guard at prison near Zurich 'helped Syrian flee jail'
National
Swiss residential real estate 'bubble risk' continues to rise
Culture
Temporary wood opera house opens near United Nations in Geneva
National
Internet video of elderly Swiss hikers falling off seesaw sparks buzz
National
'World's best chef' commits suicide in village near Lausanne
Features
Zurich celebrates centennial of quirky Dada artistic movement
Education
Children in village school told to speak German or pay 'penalty'
Features
Swiss provide multiple resources to support 'sexy' startup trend
National
Swiss citizens to vote this summer on guaranteed income for all
Culture
Geneva authorities back art museum expansion with Jean Nouvel design
National
Luxury hotel conversion in Vevey runs into financial trouble
National
World Economic Forum: Davos soldiers test positive for cocaine use
Switzerland had secret 'peace deal' with PLO to prevent attacks
Technology
VIDEO: Drone takes you to the heart of a Swiss glacier
Business & Money
Leonardo DiCaprio in Davos slams 'greed' of fossil-fuel industry
National
Miniature scale model of city of Geneva goes on public display
International
Politician and ex-head of Swiss Post among dead in Burkina Faso attack
National
Revealed: Swiss authorities strip refugees of cash and valuables
National
Spectacular video of avalanche near Zermatt illustrates dangers
Business & Money
GE announces plans to slash 1,300 Swiss jobs at Alstom plants
Sport
Fifa museum set to open in Zurich next month as scandal continues
National
Is climate change ruining skiing at resorts in the Swiss Alps?
4,455
jobs available