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Schumacher protests innocence, vows to fight suspension

By:
Shane Stokes
Published:
February 20, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 18:08 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, February 20, 2009
Schumacher in a 2008 Tour de France time trial

Schumacher in a 2008 Tour de France time trial

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Stefan Schumacher continued to protest his innocence and vowed to fight on, even after being...

Stefan Schumacher continued to protest his innocence and vowed to fight on, even after being suspended for two years by the French national anti-doping laboratory AFLD. The suspension, which was announced Thursday, was based upon his positive tests for CERA, a new generation of EPO, during the Tour de France.

He released a statement on his website Thursday evening, addressing the issue. He said that the decision "is a shock for me and leaves me stunned. It's not just that the proceeding was a farce," and claimed that the AFLD and its president, Pierre Bordry, had made up their minds as to his guilt before even starting.

Continuing to insist, "I have not doped," he said that he would appeal "this unprecedented proceeding and the unbelievable verdict" in French courts. "I assume that I will find in the French courts a judge who, as compared to the AFLD's commission and president, will observe legal standards and offer me a fair trial."

"One thing is for sure: I will not give up," he continued. "I want to, and will, continue to ride. This sport is my passion and my job. I am fighting for my rehabilitation and appeal to everyone not to base their opinion of me as a person on this AFLD verdict, which disregards rights and the law."

"To accept the scandalous verdict of the AFLD would be the end of fairness. It would mean that I accept that athletes can be at the mercy of others, without protection. All that I want is a fair hearing. Then I can finally prove my innocence."

"I will not give up and will fight for my rights to the end."

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