By Susan Westemeyer
Team Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher admits to having made a mistake, with his drunk-driving accident over the weekend, and is willing to accept the consequences. But that is all that he is admitting to, and has now gone on the offensive to fight rumours that he was using doping products to prepare for the World Championships, where he placed third.
After the Worlds, it was reported that two unannounced out-of competition tests conducted the week before the race showed irregular blood values, which he said were due to diarrhoea. Since then there has been public speculation that the irregularities were due to doping, which Schumacher, the UCI and the German federation have all denied.
The Chairman of the German Parliament's Sport Committee indicated that he would hold hearings on the subject, and challenged the rider to supply his blood values. Schumacher has now responded to the challenge. He said that he is willing to appear before the committee at any time.
In addition, he said that he was prepared to present his blood values to an independent commission. He would make himself available to the commission for questioning and cooperate with it in order to clear up the situation. He further noted that he had turned over his blood values to the UCI and national federation before the Worlds race, and they allowed him to start after they had studied the documents.
It was also announced by the BDR (German cycling federation) yesterday that a urine test conducted by the German national anti-doping agency (NADA) at the same time as the first blood test before the Worlds came back negative for doping.
"Even if it doesn't please some people, there is no Stefan Schumacher doping case!" he said in a statement released yesterday. "I gave everything for the Worlds. I trained and lived like never before. The Worlds were my biggest goal, my vision! Because of my illness shortly before the Worlds it was almost all over. I spent one night and half a day on the toilet. That caused some of my blood values to change. But to therefore accuse of manipulation and then to add the hypothesis that my parents helped me – that is absolutely crazy!"
Schumacher's mother is a physician. Fritz Sörgel, the director of the Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Nürnberg, said in WELT magazine that the irregular blood values could be an indication of blood doping, and insinuated that the rider could have had help from close sources.
"Sörgel now has a very large problem," said Schumacher's manager, Heinz Betz. "Our attorney is already working on the matter."
Schumacher made un-related headlines this week when he crashed into a garden fence and left the scene of the accident while under the influence of alcohol.