Team Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl has confirmed that he tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France to team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "I had a call from Bernhard Kohl and he confirmed to me that he had been told of the positive test," Holczer said. "The substance is EPO CERA."
Kohl finished a surprising third overall in the Tour and won the King of the Mountains jersey. His teammate and Tour de France roommate Stefan Schumacher also tested positive for CERA.
The Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency also confirmed the news. "It was our duty to inform Bernhard Kohl of the positive test. We got the information from the French NADA," said Austrian NADA director Andreas Schwab.
"On the one hand, I am really very disappointed that he tested positive, because he had a really fantastic performance in the Tour de France. On the other hand, I am happy that obviously the test proceedings have been so improved that they can find out more than expected."
Kohl cold not immediately be reached for a comment. The 26-year-old, who lives in Vienna, turned pro in 2002 with the Austrian Team Elk Haus. He rode for the Rabobank third division team for two years before joining T-Mobile in 2005. He transferred to Gerolsteiner in 2007.
His teammate Peter Wrolich told LaOla1.at, "I really can't believe it. I will only say something when there is proof."
Kohl had signed a contract for the coming two years with the Belgian team Silence-Lotto. In a press release issued Monday night, Silence-Lotto's management said that after being informed by the press of Kohl's positive controls it, "Immediately checked this information with Gerolsteiner's manager, who has confirmed it. If this information is confirmed by the official authorities, the team management will commence legal proceedings in view of immediately breaking our future collaboration with Kohl."(SW)