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CAS blood-doping case ruling bad news for Schumacher, lawyer says

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
November 26, 2009, 16:13 GMT,
Updated:
November 26, 2009, 16:20 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 26, 2009
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)

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Lehner will encourage athletes to avoid CAS in the future

Stefan Schumacher's chance before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decreased due to the court's ruling in the Claudia Pechstein blood-doping case, according to Schumacher's lawyer Michael Lehner. The ruling Wednesday indicates a conviction for Schumacher, he said.

Lehner also said that he would start an initiative to encourage athletes to stay away from the CAS.

Yesterday afternoon, the CAS issued its first ruling on an athlete's suspension based solely on the indirect evidence of irregular values, and said that manipulation – blood doping – as the only explanation for Pechstein's blood values. The German speed skater, who never returned a positive doping control, is suspended for two years.

The CAS is expected to rule on Schumacher's case the middle of December, said Lehner. The German cyclist was suspended for two years after testing positive for the EPO derivative CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. He also tested positive for CERA at the Beijing Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week annulled the results of Schumacher and the other four athletes who tested positive during the Olympics. Lehner said that the IOC's action was “not favourable” and that it acted “as quickly as possible and falsely.”

Lehner told the German news agency dpa that he would support the initiative CAS – Nein Danke (“CAS – No than you”), and advise athletes to avoid going to the CAS. In order to go to a regular civil court instead, the athletes “when they get their licences, must refuse to agree to go to the CAS in case of a dispute.”

He called Wednesday's decision “a witch hunt” and “a slap in the face for sport law.” Indirect evidence for blood doping, as in Pechtstein's case or in several pending cycling cases, “must be properly and securely conducted,” which in this case did not happen, he said.

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