Sunweb’s Worlds TTTs, Pedersen wins Denmark, Sagan ill: CT Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

September 18, 2017

In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Sunweb wins women’s team time trial world title; Sunweb wins men’s team time trial world title; Mads Pedersen secures overall victory at the Tour of Denmark; Liam Bertazzo wins the Tour of China I, Joe Cooper second; Peter Sagan falls ill in world championships lead-up; Cookson, Lappartient continue campaigning ahead of UCI presidential election; Greg Henderson joins USA Cycling as endurance performance director; Manuel Quinziato on retirement and what comes next; Cobblestones to feature in 2018 Tour de France stage?

Jan Ullrich given 21-month suspended sentence for drunk driving

by CyclingTips

Jan Ullrich has been handed a 21-month prison sentence in Switzerland on Thursday, with the sentence suspended to four years. The charges stem from an car accident he caused in May 2014.

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The 1997 Tour de France winner admitted at the time to being under the influence of alcohol, with a test at the scene allegedly showing 1.4 per mil, well above the Swiss limit of 0.5.

According to media reports, he was traveling at such a high speed that he was unable to brake in time and hit a car in front of him stopped at a stop sign. That car overturned and landed in a field, and Ullrich then hit a second stopped car. Two persons from those other cars had to be taken to hospital but were not seriously injured.

An expert opinion before the court last November found that the German, who lived in Switzerland a number of years before moving to Mallorca, was traveling at 132km/h instead of the previously report 140km/h. The allowed speed limit was 80km/h, and if he had beene 60km/h or more above that, he would have drawn a mandatory prison sentence.

As it was, he was given a suspended sentence, and ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs (8,700 Euro) and court costs.

The judge noted that “The limits are the same for everyone – whether a top athlete or a ‘normal person’, it doesn’t play a role.”

On his website, the 43-year-old said, “I am very relieved that the proceedings are over. Three years and four months are an unusually long time to wrap up a case like this. I am happy and thankful that no one was seriously injured in the accident and I can only repeat that I very much regret this mistake.”

From Switzerland, Ullrich went directly to hospital in Munich, Germany, for surgery on his left knee.

The Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been handed down a suspended 21-month prison sentence by a Swiss court, which found him guilty of drunk driving.

Ullrich was found to be ‘heavily drunk and medicated’ when he crashed into two cars in the village of Happerswil in Switzerland.

He has also been ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,700).

There were no injuries, but Ullrich was found to be driving at over 130kmph in an 80kmph area.

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Tests showed sleep medicine as well as high levels of alcohol in the 1997 Tour winner’s blood.

“The limits are the same for everyone, whether he is a top athlete or a normal person,” the judge said according to Blick (link is external) newspaper.

His silver Audi A6 station wagon is said to have rear-ended a Citröen C3 Pluriel at a stop sign . The Citröen flipped over from the force of collision, while Ullrich’s car then hit an Alfa Romeo 147 before ending up in a field.

Speaking to the newspaper shortly afterwards, Ullrich claimed that alcohol had not been involved, although he admitted that he had been driving around 20km/h too quickly.

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

“It’s inexcusable to have driven in the state I was in. It was a terrible mistake, and I deeply regret it,” he commented.

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This is not the first time that Ullrich has been in trouble for drink driving. In 2002 he lost his driving licence for a year and was fined two months’ salary following another incident.

On that occasion, he knocked out a rack of bikes with his Porsche 911 outside a Freiburg hotel in the early hours of the morning. He fled the scene, but a witness took the number of his car and informed the police. When they took a blood sample from him, he was found to have three times the permitted level of alcohol in his blood when driving.

Initial reports said that Alexandre Vinokourov was also in the car, but this proved not to be the case. However, ex-world tandem champion Erk Pokorny was, along with two girls.