Bernhard Kohl tested non-negative for CERA not once but twice at the Tour de France. Samples taken on July 3, two days before the race started, and July 15, the rest day in Pau, were both positive, the French Anti-Doping Agencyc AFLD has confirmed.
The AFLD added, "The official notification to the athlete was done through the Austrian Anti-doping Agency [NADA Austria]. This means disciplinary proceedings can be taken against the athlete by the French and the Austrian national disciplinary authorities, as the 2008 Tour de France was not included in the UCI's [world cycling's governing body] calendar."
Hans-Michael Holczer, team owner and manager, said no one suspected anything about Kohl. "Nothing was known about it on the team, there were no rumours. That was in no way organised by the team. It just shows how powerless we are.
"With Schumacher it has been said that we knew what kind of a character he is. What should we say now about Kohl?"
Holczer feels betrayed
The 54-year-old told LaOla1.at that he felt betrayed by his rider. "I am personally very much hurt and will take the same steps against him as against Schumacher." He had already said that he intended to file suit against Schumacher for damages.
Holczer urged Kohl to confess. "I advised him to name the people behind this. He should tell all and say who is behind it. That way he can do something good for cycling.
"It is time that I leave cycling," Holczer said, in light of Kohl's and Schumacher's positive doping tests. "I don't deserve this after 10 years in the sport."
Kohl's manager, Stefan Matschiner believed in the innocence of his client. He and Kohl "are speechless. Bernhard is undergoing a great injustice. I am convinced that he wouldn't lie to me."
Matschiner said that "We have received a letter from the French Anti-Doping Agency, but we don't have an idea what it says. It is written in Frnech and we must first have it translated," he told "LaOla1.at".
Kohl has also been removed as a nominee for the Austrian Athlete of the Year, a title he was expected to win. The list of five names was issued only last week, but his name has now been removed and replaced by an ice hockey player, according to the Sportjournalisten – Vereinigung Sports Media Austria.
The Austrian is the fourth rider to test positive for CERA from the Tour. Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccò of Team Saunier-Duval were the first. Kohl's Gerolsteiner teammate and Tour roommate Stefan Schumacher was also caught for it.(SW)