Stefan Schumacher is said to be joining Christina Watches for the 2012 season. Team owner Christina Hembo yesterday had announced a press conference at which she would introduce “a star rider” to the team.
Schumacher has most recently ridden for Miche, since returning from his doping suspension. This season he had four victories, winning two stages each at the Vuelta a Asturias and the Azerbaijan Tour. In both races he won the time trial and a road stage.
In 2008, riding for Team Gerolsteiner, Schumacher won both time trials at the Tour de France. He was later found to have tested positive for EPO-CERA not only at the Tour but also at the Beijing Olympics. He was banned for two years, with his suspension ending the end of August 2010.
Schumacher has never admitted to doping, but has acknowledged that he has “made mistakes”.
The German has long had a questionable reputation. He tested positive for the amphetamine Cathine in 2005, but escaped charges after it was proved that his mother, a doctor, prescribed it for him after being mistakenly told it was not forbidden.
In 2007 he finished third in the World Championship road race in his hometown of Stuttgart, and afterwards it came out that he had “irregular blood values” before the race, which were explained away by a particularly bad case of diarrhea.
Schumacher had celebrated his bronze medal to such an extent that was arrested for drunk driving. Several months later it was disclosed that amphetamine traces were found in his blood, but the use of amphetamines outside of racing is not considered a doping violation. He also denied having used any drug.
Earlier this year, Schumacher told Cyclingnews that “I will endeavor to win back the trust and sympathy which I have lost. I want to win and to show that I am doing it cleanly.”