Pechstein aiming for track cycling in London Olympics

Blood abnormality ban over for German speed skater

German Claudia Pechstein, a five time gold medalist in the Olympic speed skating events, is looking to compete at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London in track cycling.

The 39-year-old served a two-year ban in her winter sport after tests revealed elevated levels of reticulocytes at the 2009 world championships in Norway, indicating likely blood doping.

Her ban ended on February 8, but Olympic regulations may prevent Pechstein from her top priority, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The 'Osaka Rule' prohibits any athlete who has served a suspension of more than six months from competing in the next two Olympics after the ban.

"My goal is to compete at the London Olympics in 2012. I want to race on the track - as a cyclist," she told the Sport-Bild magazine.

"I will start in the individual pursuit at the German Track Championships from July 6-10 in Berlin. I am also planning to race the individual sprint or the 500-meter time trial. I trust I can do this because as a skater I've trained a lot on the bike. I have nothing to lose. I don't know how this kind of competition works, so this alone is really exciting. "

Despite losing her fight against her doping ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Pechstein insists that she never doped and that her suspension was a "miscarriage of justice, based on a single indicator".

She argued that her abnormal tests were due to a congenital condition, but she was not able to convince the arbitrators of this, and now faces another fight to continue her Olympic career.

"I want the chance to compete at a Games, which was stolen from me at Vancouver," she said. "I will fight for my chance, athletically, diplomatically - and, if necessary, also legally."
 

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