Stefan Schumacher has the knack of landing himself in controversial situations but always managing to come out of them on the right side of the law – even if his continual protestations of innocence are starting to get a bit tarnished from their constant use. His story starts with a positive doping control, and another positive control is also the most recent chapter in the saga. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer took a look at the controversial episodes in the young rider's career.
The 26 year-old German's up-and-down professional career started in 2002 with Team Telekom. That year he won the young rider's award in the Peace Race and the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, finishing eighth overall in the Peace Race.
He was unable to repeat his successes in 2003, and Telekom let him go. He dropped to the GS-III Team Lamonta, where he was finally able to establish himself. His biggest success in 2004 was as runner-up behind Andreas Klöden in the German national championships. "Schumi" brought in two wins that year, a stage in the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Druivenkoers Overijse.
Those successes were enough to land him a contract with the GS-II team Shimano-Memory Corp. He got off to a fantastic start with the Dutch team, taking the overall title in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt and the Ster Elektrotoer, as well as winning four stages in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt on his way to the overall win.
As thrilling as it was to win four stages in Rheinland-Pfalz, he was brought back down to earth only a few weeks later. It was announced that he had tested positive for the amphetamine Cathine during the race. He was promptly suspended by his team.
He equally promptly held a press conference, where he was accompanied by none other than Michael Lehner, who has become famous for his involvement in German professional cycling doping cases. Schumacher had a simple explanation for the matter: his mother gave it to him.
Read the full Stefan Schumacher feature.