German cyclist fails Olympic doping re-test | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 29.04.2009
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German cyclist fails Olympic doping re-test

German cyclist Stefan Schumacher has tested positive for a banned blood booster following re-testing of samples from last year's Beijing Olympics.

Stefan Schumacher on a winner's podium

In 2008 Stefan Schumacher was one of German cycling's biggest stars

The German Cycling Federation said Schumacher tested positive for a substance known as CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator) - the new generation of the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO).

"It is now up to him whether he requests the opening of the B sample or not," the BDR said in a statement, referring to the athlete's right to appeal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday that six sportsmen had tested positive for CERA, a new strain of the illegal blood-booster Erythropoietin (EPO).

The Italian Olympic Committee has since confirmed that one of them was Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, who won Olympic silver in the men's road race in Beijing.

Rebellin and Schumacher rode together professionally in 2008 for the now defunct German-based Gerolsteiner cycling team.

Schumacher was banned from cycling for two years in February after a sample he gave during the 2008 Tour de France re-tested positive late last year.

The German cyclist, who won the 2008 Tour's two time trials and wore the overall leader's yellow jersey for two days, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Schumacher claimed the ban had been imposed without any negotiations and without him being able to give his testimony.

If Schumacher's B sample from Beijing tests positive, it would mark him a repeat offender, and could lead to a multi-year or even lifetime ban.

Meanwhile, Rebellin and other athletes implicated by the re-tests could face disqualification, be stripped of their medals and banned from the 2012 Games on top of sanctions from their respective sports federations.

Effective system

IOC vice-president Thomas Bach

Bach says retroactive testing should make athletes think twice about cheating

IOC vice-president Thomas Bach said the positive re-tests confirmed that anti-doping systems were working.

"I hope these results will have a deterrent effect. No one who even plays with the thought of doping can feel safe any more," Bach told Germany's dpa news agency.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said the tests should serve as a warning to athletes tempted to cheat.

"We believe that retrospective testing serves as a strong deterrent," Fahey said.

The IOC stores Olympic doping test samples for eight years and conducts re-tests as new testing methods are developed.

Under WADA rules athletes face sanctions over this whole period for an offence.

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