By Gregor Brown
Germany's Stefan Schumacher betrayed team Gerolsteiner with his performance in the Tour de France, according to Hans-Michael Holczer. The team's manager plans to take his former rider to court for financial damages as a result of a positive EPO control.
"These are the two points that I can say; he cheated the whole team, especially me, and I will sue him until the last cent I have in my pocket," said German Holczer to Cyclingnews.
Schumacher tested positive for a third generation of EPO - Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator (CERA) - at the Tour de France, July 5 to 27, where he was the winner of both time trial stages and the holder of the maillot jaune for two days. The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) tested blood samples from the race this week after urine samples were inconclusive.
"I heard the news a few minutes before - I read the report on L'Equipe and I got a phone call from [Tour Directeur] Christian Prudhomme," said Holczer.
Holczer criticised the internal testing carried out by teams such as Team CSC-Saxo Bank, Garmin Chipotle - H30 and Team Columbia. He stated it is unable to detect CERA and it helps riders avoid controls.
"You would not have found CERA with an internal test," he said. "I am still convinced that internal tests are the first steps for cheating. It does not help."
Holczer warned that even the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport may not meet the grade. "We are going to see how many of the riders are positive because he was tested nine times for the biological passport," he added.
The relationship between Holczer and Schumacher was to end with 2008, when Schumacher was expected to join Quick Step-Specialized. Holczer was unable to find a replacement sponsor for Gerolsteiner and his star rider had to look elsewhere for a contract. The two have now separated paths sooner than expected and Schumacher's future remains in the balance.
"I don't call him," Holczer added. "I don't see any necessity to talk to this man again. This is a final shame that he brought over the team."