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Sinkewitz denies Franke's team doping claims

Former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz has rejected doping allegations made against the whole team.

Former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz has rejected doping allegations made against the whole team. (Image credit: AFP)

Patrik Sinkewitz has denied claims made by German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke that the entire T-Mobile Team went to the Freiburg University Clinic for blood-doping after the first stage of the Tour de France in 2006. "There were no other riders in my car to Freiburg," the suspended rider said in an interview with the dpa press agency, refuting Franke's claims that "whole team" was involved in the excursion.

Franke had claimed to know that all seven riders had gone for blood transfusions after the initial stage held in Strasbourg, close to the German border. The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said that the riders drove to nearby Freiburg in two cars - one with German riders and one with foreign riders.

Franke, Sinkewitz said, "was never there when I testified. Just because he assumes something, doesn't mean he can claim it as true."

The former pro rider tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition control in June 2007 and was immediately suspended by his team T-Mobile, which subsequently fired him. He was given a one-year suspension for the violation after collaborating extensively with anti-doping authorities.

Team T-Mobile has now become Team High Road, and team owner Bob Stapleton has introduced a strict anti-doping policy. Stapleton was not formally associated with the team during the 2006 season.

The 27-year-old Sinkewitz looked back at 2007 sorrowfully. "I have certainly made a lot of mistakes in 2007. I will probably never be able to forgive myself," he said. "One of those mistakes may have been in confessing," he added. It didn't help him "in any way. It actually hurt me." Sinkewitz is banned from racing until July 17, 2008, and must pay a fine of 40,000 Euro.

The German said that there was nothing new on his search for a new team. He claimed to be surprised by statements from his attorney Michael Lehner in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the UCI was putting pressure on teams not to sign him or Jörg Jaksche. "That is totally new to me," Sinkewitz said. "But if it is true, then the whole anti-doping fight would be proved to be nothing more than a show."

He concluded, "If Jaksche and I don't get contracts, then nobody will ever open up again."

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