Former professional Stefan Schumacher has today called for the withdrawal of his positive test results for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and Beijing Olympics. The German seized on an announcement by the French anti-doping authority (AFLD) on Wednesday that said re-testing of samples from 17 riders had revealed no further cases of EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour.
Schumacher was one of four riders to test positive for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. In a press release issued by his lawyer on Wednesday he claimed that the retrospective testing procedure used by the AFLD in the latest round of analysis differed to that used to determine his positive test result in 2008, a difference, he says, that supports his claim of innocence.
"The AFLD laboratory's test system for CERA was accredited by the French accreditation body (COFRAC) on July 1, 2009, therefore retrospective analysis could be performed with that method after this date," read the statement. "With the development and authorization of the test now complete, the negative results [announced by the AFLD on Wednesday] are evidence that there was no comprehensive use of CERA at the 2008 Tour de France."
Schumacher said the testing of his samples had been carried out what he called "at a very early stage of development" and could therefore be susceptible to false-positive results. He said he had been used as a "guinea pig" by the AFLD, who had "conjured" up his positive test results.
Schumacher's positive for CERA came after analysis of a blood sample taken during the 2008 Tour was carried out by the AFLD in the months following the race. In March this year, Schumacher was banned from competition for two years by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for his use of EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.
Schumacher also tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The results came after analysis carried out by Olympic anti-doping authorities. Both his A and B samples were found to be positive for CERA. Five other athletes tested positive for CERA at the Beijing Olympics, including cyclist Davide Rebellin, Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate.
The German is yet to receive a ban from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his positive test for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Under IOC rules athletes found guilty of cheating face a lifetime ban from Olympic competition.
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