By Susan Westemeyer
Danilo Hondo's on-again-off-again ban for a 2005 positive doping test has made another turn. A Swiss Kantongericht judge has denied Danilo Hondo's appeal of his doping suspension, and now the German sprinter will not be able to ride until the 2008 season. Hondo announced on his website, danilo-hondo.de, that he would appeal the decision.
The judge did not give any reason for his decision.
A small amount of the drug Carphedon was found in Hondo's system during the Vuelta a Murcia in March 2005 while he was riding for Gerolsteiner. In June of that year, the Swiss Cycling Federation issued a two year ban, but with one year to be suspended, followed by a five year probation period. The CAS said later, in January 2006, that Hondo deserved a two year ban, thereby extending his ban by one year per the advice of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
A Swiss court subsequently overturned that ban and allowed Hondo to return to racing, but the Swiss Supreme Court reinstated his suspension in January 2007. Earlier this month, the CAS issued a clarification that the ban must be "effectively" served, and the UCI subsequently ordered the suspension to run through January 2008.
Hondo was so sure that he would win the appeal that he planned to start in the Giro d'Abruzzo on the day after the hearing was scheduled earlier this month. But, as he wrote on his website, "Today it happened - what none of us had expected." He continued, "We are all stunned, because we had barely considered this worst-case scenario to be possible."
While noting that "My family and I are deeply disappointed, we are fed up with this legal marathon," he remained defiant. "There is no way that I will quit here and now. I will discuss with my attorneys what further steps are to be taken. It is certain that I will be at the start again no later than the 2008 season!"