Geneva – Germany’s only Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been involved in a road accident that injured two people in Switzerland, his adopted home, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
“I'm sorry. Thank God that nobody died,” the retired star, who last year admitted to doping, was quoted as saying by the Swiss tabloid Blick.
“I was under stress, I was coming from an appointment and I wanted to get home as soon as possible,” he said.
Blick said Ullrich was categorical that alcohol was not to blame for the crash, which occurred on Monday night outside the village of Mattwil in northern Switzerland.
Police in the Thurgau region where Mattwil is located said that the man responsible for the crash failed a breathalyser test and was stripped of his driving licence on the spot.
The test revealed a level of 1.4g of alcohol per litre of blood. The legal limit in Switzerland is 0.5 grammes.
Contacted by AFP, 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 in 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.
Two people were taken to hospital.
The crash caused tens of thousands of Swiss francs of damage, police said.
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. – Sapa-AFP