The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced sanctions on Wednesday against five athletes, including two cyclists, who participated in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing for having committed anti-doping violations. All five tested positive for CERA, a third generation of the endurance-enhancing hormone, EPO. Stefan Schumacher joined Davide Rebellin on the list of cyclists receiving sanctions.
Schumacher, riding for Germany, had finished 13th in the time trial. Rebellin had won a silver medal in the road race. The news comes after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said it would review a request from the IOC to strip Rebellin of his medal and a day after UCI President Pat McQuaid confirmed that the Italian would have to forfeit his result.
Both riders are disqualified effective immediately and their Olympic Games results have been withdrawn. They are subject to further action from the UCI. Rebellin was ordered to return his medal and diploma via the Italian National Olympic Committee.
The samples were collected and tested at Games-time and were subject to further analysis earlier this year when a fully validated test to detect CERA became available. Originally, six athletes showed adverse analytical findings in their A samples. However, one athlete was not sanctioned due to the presence of CERA not being detected in her B sample.
All six athletes had the opportunity to be heard by an IOC Disciplinary Commission. In his hearing, Schumacher and his lawyers maintained that he had not taken EPO CERA.
The other sanctioned athletes are Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain (gold medallist in the 1500m in athletics); Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece (ninth in the 20km walking event); and Vanja Perisic of Croatia (sixth in round 1, heat 3 of 800m in athletics).
A case against Yudelquis Maridalin Contreras of the Dominican Republic (fifth in the 53kg weightlifting event) was also heard, but she was not sanctioned due to "the proof currently available in the case". The IOC reserved the right to re-open the case "in the event that new evidence comes to light".
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.