Schumacher debuts, apologises

By Susan Westemeyer

Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher will make his 2008 season debut at the Volta ao Algarve this week. The five-stage race starts Wednesday in Albufeira and ends Sunday in Portimao. "The stages aren't too hard and offer lots of chances to test oneself," said Directeur Sportif Reimund Dietzen.

The 26 year-old Schumacher will be looking to make sporting headlines again and put his recent troubles behind him. After returning questionable blood values before the World Championships, he was involved in a hit-and-run auto accident while driving under the influence. At the beginning of January, it was disclosed that a blood sample taken at the time of the accident showed traces of amphetamines.

"I know that I am not living up to my position as a role model," he said. "That was not good." As redress, Schumacher contributed a "significant amount" to the German Continental Team Ista, run by his trainer Hartmut Täumler.

Gerolsteiner for Algarve will be Robert Förster, Markus Fothen, Sven Krauss, Sebastian Lang, Ronny Scholz, Stephan Schreck, Stefan Schumacher and Tom Stamsnijder.

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