For the first time, former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich speaks in detail about the blood doping he did during his time as a telecom professional in order to improve his performance. “If you want to keep up, you have to take part,” said Ullrich in an interview with stern. He quickly submitted to this compulsion after joining Team Telekom as a professional in 1995.

Doping felt “completely normal” back then. “The general attitude was: If you don’t do this, how will you survive in a race?” Ullrich describes doping as a necessity in order to keep up. “Without helping, the widespread perception at the time was that it would be like going to a gunfight armed only with a knife.”

Ullrich was excluded from the Tour de France in 2006 because he was found to have connections to the Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. He told Stern that he now regrets not having come clean earlier. But that wouldn’t have been possible back then. “In 2006 I wasn’t able to talk because I didn’t want to be a traitor.” This scenario was outlined to him again and again: “The lawyers told me: Either you go out and tear everything down, or you don’t say anything at all. I decided on the second recommendation at the time. Because tearing everything down would also have meant that I “I’m dragging a lot of people down with me into the abyss.”