By Susan Westemeyer
Stefan Schumacher may have finished third in the World Championships, but he has had nothing but problems since then. First it was announced that he had "irregular blood values" in two out-of-competition tests before the Worlds. Now he has been involved in a situation involving drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and possibly drug consumption.
In the early hours of Monday morning, he left a disco in Stuttgart where he had been celebrating with friends. "Naturally alcohol was drunken," he said in a statement. "Other than alcohol, nothing was involved. After the party, I took a taxi, along with some friends, to Nürtingen," where his home is. "Since my girlfriend wasn't at home and I couldn't reach her on the phone, I got in my car to look for her at a friend's house, which is also in Nürtingen. Along the way, an accident happened, in which I damaged a garden fence. Under shock, I drove on for a few more minutes before I came to my senses and returned to the site of the accident. I am very sorry for this and [I am] glad that no one was injured."
The German tabloid BILD not only gave details, but went one step further, claiming that in addition to having 0.07% blood alcohol content, he also tested positive on a preliminary drug test, presumably one for "social" drugs, as compared to performance enhancing drugs. The legal limit to drive in Germany is 0.05%. The tabloid added that he had to give a blood sample and had to give up his driver's license. BILD quotes Schumacher as saying, "I cannot explain this positive drug test. I did not take any drugs, 100 percent."
"BILD apparently knows a lot more than we do," Schumacher's manager Heinz Betz told Cyclingnews. "It is true that he had an auto accident and that a garden fence was damaged. Alcohol was involved, and he did have both an alcohol and preliminary drug test, which are both standard under the circumstances. But we have not seen any results of these tests." Betz also stressed that "Only alcohol was involved. Stefan emphasizes that he did not take any drugs."
Hans-Michael Holczer, Schumacher's team manager at Team Gerolsteiner, told sport1.de, "I can't say anything about this. But anyone who knows me knows what I think about it."