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Kessler protests innocence, will appeal suspension

By Susan Westemeyer

Matthias Kessler continued to protest his innocence on charges that he used testosterone and said that he would appeal the two-year suspension handed down Friday by the Swiss Olympic Committee. He said that he was "disappointed and consternated" by the verdict, adding, "I did not use testosterone. It was obviously a health problem."

His testosterone value was 85:1, with a normal value being 4:1. "It is the highest value ever measured," admitted his attorney, Michael Lehner. He claimed that Kessler's high values were due to an illness, and that he actually had low testosterone and epitestosterone values.

Lehner added that the "arbitrary decision" would be appealed. "I think they we will go to the International sports court CAS, to have it reviewed." In addition, he wants to have the doping-control results reviewed "outside of a doping laboratory."

Kessler's positive doping control was the first of a series of doping problems that rocked the Astana Team and resulted in an upheaval that lead to new management and many new riders. Kessler's positive was followed by Eddy Mazzoleni leaving the team due to his possible involvement in the "Oil for Drugs" investigation, and positives for Alexander Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin for blood doping.