By Susan Westemeyer
Stefan Schumacher, the Team Shimano rider acquitted of doping charges this week, has said, "I'm not guilty of anything...justice has prevailed, even if that sounds corny. Nevertheless, the whole thing turned out to be the equivalent of a six-month ban for me."
In a recent interview, he explained his future plans. "I will ride a few small races in Belgium, but of course I'll have no chance of winning them. My condition is terrible. I've trained everyday but haven't raced since June." Looking further into the future, he says the chances are good that he will be with a Pro Tour team next year. News on the street is that the German rider will sign with Gerolsteiner for next season.
Schumacher describes what his summer has been like. "At first it was a shock, it was like a bad joke. My job was at stake. But worst of all were the everyday effects. My case was mentioned a few times in the newspaper and at home in Nüritgen; people looked at me differently. A lot of people mentioned it to me and I'm sure a lot of them thought there must be something to it, because everyone hears so much about doping in cycling. I felt as if I was branded. Now I'm happy because of the acquittal but it leaves a bitter aftertaste; I'm not guilty of anything. As of now, I'm just looking to the future."
Schumacher had tested positive for the doping substance cathine (norpseudoephedrine) in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt earlier this year. The German Cycling Federation BDR dropped the charges this week, saying that the rider had asked several sports federations if the medication against his pollen allergy was permitted.