Stefan Schumacher cannot believe that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has once more postponed the decision in his Tour de France doping case. “That doesn't make any sense. I have the feeling they know they must acquit me but don't want to.”
The CAS announced Monday that its decision would be delayed an additional two weeks. It was originally scheduled to announce its decision the middle of December, but postponed it until this week. Now it has given itself until January 25.
“You can't treat athletes like this,” Schumacher's attorney Michael Lehner told the SID news agency in criticism of the Court.
However, Lehner indicated that the move may be good news for his client. “My guess is that there has been some lively discussion within the panel over the decision. I think there is no basis for a conviction. Many errors were made.”
Schumacher tested positive for the EPO variant CERA at the Tour de France, and the French National Anti-doping Agency suspended him for two years. The International Cycling Union subsequently adopted the suspension, which runs until January 21, 2011, and made it applicable worldwide.
Schumacher appealed the suspension on the grounds that, among others, the analysis method used for CERA was not approved for use at the time
“I didn't dope. I know that everything is against me, but there are so many procedural errors,” Schumacher said in an interview with the SID.
Another error was that “the samples were no longer anonymous. My samples were no longer sealed and had been opened months before.
“I have the impression that that they wanted to find specific riders positive.”
If the CAS upholds the suspension, then he will appeal it in the Swiss judicial system. “I will fight and am convinced that a regular court would acquit me.” Schumacher acknowledged that the process is expensive, “But I don't care. The principle is what matters, no matter what it costs.”
And when the whole thing is finished, he intends to return to racing. “I can't end my career this way. There is still much too much passion in me. I still have 10 years of cycling left in me. Lance Armstrong is 10 years older than I am and wants to keep on riding two more years."