German struggled with suspension and return to cycling
Stefan Schumacher had a hard time adjusting to his doping-related ban from pro cycling and his return to racing, but is now at the point where he can say, “I'm almost happy.” The German said he is having fun again on the bike now that he is with the Christina Watches team.
Schumacher tested positive for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and the following Olympics in Beijing. He was given a two-year ban.
He has never admitted to doping, but only to making mistakes. “I made mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. It is quite certain that I didn't do everything right. But I can not change the situation,” Schumacher told sporten.dk.
Life during his suspension was not easy. “I tried to fight back,” he said. “At the beginning I trained. Then I felt like I was in a hole. Without motivation. It was not easy for my family and my wife. I tried to keep myself from going crazy. It was a really, really bad time for me,” he said, admitting he also underwent therapy.
He returned to the peloton with Miche in 2010 and 2011, but things picked up for him last summer when he met Rasmussen at a race, which led to him signing with the Danish Continental ranked team.
“For me it's about having fun riding races. Having good people around me. Christina Watches-Onfone does not feel like a Continental Team,” he said. “It is all run very professionally. There is a willingness to develop and improve the team, there are some really talented riders and when we rode the Tour of San Luis under sports director Michael Blaudzun it was well-organized throughout.”
At the Argentinean race, Schumacher used five top ten finishes to finish fourth overall, although he will presumably be moved up to third place following Alberto Contador's disqualification from second place.
The race was a great experience for him. “It was great to fight against the 'big boys', of course. But when I talk about having fun with that bike again, it's about being on a team with a good spirit in which people make jokes, and where the atmosphere does not drain you of energy. For me it is crucial now that I am in harmony with myself and my surroundings.”
As to the future, he says he doesn't really have a plan for the rest of his career. He would like to ride the Classics again, and win a stage in a grand tour. “But so many factors are out of my hands,” he said. “I accept my situation as it is. It works. I'm almost happy.”
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