T-Mobile team director fired for links to doctor

Updated: July 9, 2006, 2:36 PM ET
Associated Press

LORIENT, France -- The director of the T-Mobile cycling team has been fired because of suspected links to a Spanish doctor accused of doping.

The T-Mobile team had already suspended sporting director Rudy Pevenage and riders Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla after they allegedly had contact with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, who is accused of being at the center of a blood-doping ring. Fuentes has been charged in Spain with crimes against public health.

Pevenage was an employee of T-Mobile manager Olaf Ludwig, not of the team itself, spokesman Christian Frommert.

He said Pevenage was fired Saturday "because Olaf thought the proof, evidence, that he is guilty is quite clear.

"He [Pevenage] had contacts with Fuentes. He told us that he had no contacts with Fuentes, and so he lied to all of us," Frommert added.

Ullrich won the 1997 Tour de France and was a five-time runner-up. With Lance Armstrong's retirement, the German rider had been considered one of the favorites for this year's race before he was sent home before the Tour began on July 1.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press