Stefan Schumacher continues to fight against all charges that he has used doping products, and will appeal a recent French court decision which upheld his two-year ban in France. He intends to take his case up to the highest European court if necessary.
“For us, France is not the end of the road. We will use all the legal procedures we can to challenge this decision, including the possibility of going all the way to the European Court,” his attorney Michael Lehner told the German press agency dpa on Thursday.
On Wednesday afternoon, the French Conseil d'Etat (administrative court) ruled that the retroactive EPO tests conducted by the French national anti-doping agency AFLD on doping samples from the 2008 Tour de France were correctly done. Schumacher claimed that the analysis methods were not acceptable and that his suspension should be set aside.
“I find the decision, that an unapproved analysis method was correct to use, a scandal,” Lehner said. The analysis method was not approved by the French accreditation authorities for use until July 1 of this year.
Lehner further charged that his client was the victim of a “French clique,” noting that AFLD boss Pierre Bordry had a “close relationship” to the court, in which he was formerly a judge.
Schumacher's next day in court will be next week, when the Court of Appeals in Switzerland hears his appeal of his world-wide two-year ban handed down by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The hearing is scheduled for November 4, and although Lehner calls the French ruling and the CAS case “separate matters”, the outcome is expected to be the same.
His former boss, Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, told the dpa that he would not speculate on the outcome, however. “I won't make a prediction. It is incredibly complex.” Holczer had previously indicated that the he would sue Schumacher to repay all monies paid to him after July 3, 2008, the date of the first positive doping control.
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