Doping suspect Schumacher to be investigated swiftly
7 October 2008
HAMBURG — The German cycling federation BDR is set to investigate two-time Tour de France stage winner Stephan Schumacher after a positive doping test for third-generation EPO Tuesday.
"The (BDR) board will come to an agreement today to launch proceedings," BDR boss Rudolf Scharping told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The nation’s anti-doping agency NADA also plans to open procedures after Schumacher’s team boss announced late Monday that the rider had tested positive for CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator), the latest generation of the blood booster EPO.
The head of Schumacher’s Gerolsteiner team, Hans-Michael Holczer, said Tour boss Christian Prudhomme informed him that a retest for CERA revealed the presence of the forbidden substance.
Retests were conducted on riders who returned abnormally high blood readings during this year’s Tour.
The French anti-doping agency AFLD said late Monday that Saunier Duval rider Leornardo Piepoli of Italy tested positive twice. Piepoli was kicked out of the Tour by his team for ethical reasons. He and was summoned to an Italian Olympic Committee hearing on Friday.
Riccardo Ricco also failed further doping tests for CERA, the AFLD said, after being the only rider caught using the substance at the Tour. He was kicked out of the race and is banned for two years.
Several other prominent riders may also be caught through the retests, according to news reports. The AFLD is reportedly retesting seven other riders.
Schumacher, 27, won both time trials at the 2008 Tour, each time finishing ahead of Switzerland’s two-time world champion Fabian Cancellara. He has protested his innocence in the past, but was suspended instantly by Gerolsteiner and faces a two-year ban if he is found guilty of doping. The rider has been linked with doping on previous occasions.
So far the BDR has only received an unofficial note from the world governing body UCI, but Scharping said he expects documents on the incident "later today" Tuesday.
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani confirmed two new doping cases on Tuesday, without giving names because the B-samples are yet to be examined. They are likely Piepoli and Schumacher.
Also on Tuesday, Germany’s state network ARD was debating whether to continue its Tour de France broadcasts in the future in the wake of the latest cases. ARD, and the other state network ZDF, last year terminated their broadcasts during the Tour after several doping cases.
By John Bagratuni
[dpa / Expatica]