By Susan Westemeyer
Danilo Hondo's attorney, Michael Lehner, has said that he does not find a four-year ban to be legally possible, in case his client is ruled to have used illegal doping. Lehner said that the ban "would be equivalent to banning him from his profession" and would mean "practically the end of the career" of the 31 year-old Hondo. "This kind of sentence has already been found to be unacceptable in various cases, such as that of [German track sprinter] Katrin Krabbe," he said.
Lehner particularly questioned the ProTour Code of Ethics, under which the ProTeams agreed not to sign a rider for an additional two years after serving a doping-related ban. "The teams all agreed to this regulation," said Lehner, "But the additional ban is legally questionable and won't stand up in court. [The ProTour] is a private organisation with the characteristics of a monopoly, so we are dealing with antitrust issues." He added that, as far as he knows, the riders did not agree to the addition two-year ban under the Code of Ethics.