Former Tour champion Ullrich arrested over alleged attack

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN GERMANY- AUGUST 30 Former winner of the'Tour de France Jan Ullrich is seen during a press conference on August 30th 2007 in Friedrichshafen Germany. Ullrich presents a new kind of sportswaear during the International bike fair'Euro

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN GERMANY- AUGUST 30 Former winner of the'Tour de France Jan Ullrich is seen during a press conference on August 30th 2007 in Friedrichshafen Germany. Ullrich presents a new kind of sportswaear during the International bike fair'Euro

A former victor of the Tour de France was arrested in Frankfurt for allegedly beating and attempting to strangle an escort in his hotel suite.

The former cyclist's dramatic fall from grace came two decades after he became the only German to have won the Tour de France, in 1997.

Police spokesperson Carina Lerch said the retired German cyclist was arrested after police were called to the hotel.

Now in custody, Ullrich, 44, was "under the influence of alcohol and drugs" during his arrest, said prosecutor Nadja Niesent.

"The guest had quarrelled with a woman escort who was staying with him, in the course of which he is suspected of physically attacking and injuring her", police said in a statement, adding that the alleged victim "had to undergo medical treatment for her injuries". "Mr Ullrich is still in custody". Lerch said no further details could be given on her condition while police were investigating.

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The German news agency DPA reported that Ullrich, 44, had been arrested the week before in Mallorca, where he lives, following an incident on the property of his neighbour, the actor Til Schweiger.

In a recent interview with German magazine Bild, Mr Ullrich said he had been in "deep despair" since separating from his wife. He said he had not seen his three sons since Easter.

"I have done and taken things as a result that I very much regret". He also told me that he had a prescription for cocaine'.

But he was then embroiled in doping allegations and excluded from the 2006 Tour de France over his links to the Operation Puerto scandal that centred on disgraced doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who gave performance-enhancing blood transfusions to top cyclists.

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