German cyclist Stefan Schumacher is insisting that his contract with team Quick Step for the 2009 season is valid and that the team must fulfil it. After his positive control for EPO-CERA from the Tour de France was announced last month, the Belgian team said that it considered the already-signed contract void.
"Schumacher continues to say that he is innocent," Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Sporza. "This is a cumbersome matter for me. Schumacher does not have a contract with me."
Lefevere said that he was prepared to fight for his team. "I will not pay a rider whom I do not want on general principles on my team. I am not crazy."
But Schumacher's return to racing mainly depends on whether he will be suspended or not. The German's attorney, Michael Lehner, has claimed that the re-testing of the samples by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) was not valid. However, UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani confirmed to Cyclingnews that "the doping controls at the Tour have been conducted in accordance with the AFLD rules, which are recognised by our organisation."
The disciplinary procedure against Schumacher is currently being initiated in France by the organisation that carried out the re-testing of the samples, the AFLD. If the AFLD sanctions Schumacher, the decision will be accepted by the German cycling federation BDR and the UCI "if the conditions of the UCI rules are met," according to German sports court president Peter Barth.