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Schumacher's future unclear

German Stefan Schumacher may be struggling to find a team, but will likely be banned for a couple of years anyway

German Stefan Schumacher may be struggling to find a team, but will likely be banned for a couple of years anyway (Image credit: AFP)

Stefan Schumacher faces an uncertain future with his new Quick Step team after his non-negative A-sample. Schumacher has yet to react to the news, but is currently waiting on receiving more information himself from the Tour de France organisers.

His lawyer, Michael Lehner, told sid. "We cannot give a statement yet. As far as I know the documents are on their way from France. [Once we have them] we can say something to the matter."

Lehner is a well-known German lawyer who already defended several German cyclist, including Danilo Hondo, Jörg Jaksche, Patrik Sinkewitz and even Schumacher himself. Schumacher was cleared of doping accusations made against him in 2005, with Lehner being his lawyer.

After Gerolsteiner folded Schumacher signed a two-year contract with Quick Step, a signing that helped end the career of Paolo Bettini. Quick Step's manager, Patrick Lefevere, told that Schumacher may not be going to the Belgian team after all. "If he has indeed tested positive, then he will not receive a contract with us."

Lefevere added that they did their own intense testing on Schumacher and didn't find anything. Lefevere may have to find another key rider for 2009.

German TV gone again?

Following the news of Schumacher's test, German public TV is once again debating pulling out of broadcasting the Tour de France. An ARD spokes person summed up his feelings to dpa. "You just get bloody angry, when you see how these cheats destroy cycling. There is no difference if a German, Spaniard or American gets caught."

In the last meeting, a decision over a new TV contract was postponed. Now, those responsible will have a phone conference with a decision expected soon. Last year, the two German public channels, ARD and ZDF, pulled the plug after the string of doping cases in the Tour de France.

The spokes person acknowledged that the testing catches the cheats, but it may not be enough. "Catching Schumacher shows that the controls are getting more effective and the cheats are getting sorted out. But in the end the question is who can you really trust in cycling?"

The German cable channel Eurosport on the other hand did not discuss the matter and wants to continue broadcasting cycling, a spokes person told dpa.