By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Kohl has just received a two-year suspension from the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency, but his legal troubles aren't over. He faces further hearings in France and his former Team Gerolsteiner Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer may sue him for damages. Meanwhile the Austrian has aired his complaints over his hearing and suspension.
Kohl tested positive for CERA twice at the Tour de France this summer, and he confessed to having used the illegal product. On Monday the NADA Austria handed down his two-year ban.
Because the violation occurred in France, Kohl now faces the possibility of criminal charges in that country. The APA press agency said Kohl will face a hearing before the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in January or February.
Holczer noted that he still has a contract with Kohl, although he hasn't paid the rider since his positive controls were announced. The former team manager said that Kohl's confession wasn't sufficient for him to annul the contract and sign a dissolution contract with the rider. "He must do more," Holczer told the dpa agency. "It is difficult to figure out a demand for damages. My attorney is working on it."
Kohl said that he had hoped for a reduced sentence not in order to "make my early return to cycling possible [but rather] in recognition of my confession." He questioned whether "other athletes will dare to confess to doping in similar situations."
He was particularly upset at claims that he did not fully confess, or name names. "In my testimony, I didn't protect anyone who could receive a sports sanction," he said in a press release issued Tuesday evening.
"Since yesterday the impression has been given that I did not tell the truth before the legal commission. That is by no means so," the 26-year-old said.
He also explained that it was "definitely wrong" that he had not named names of those who helped him. "I very definitely named names, I disclosed how I got the doping."