Stefan Schumacher — the German rider who tested positive for using CERA-EPO during the 2008 Tour de France — hopes to return to racing this season with Italian outfit Miche.
Schumacher announced on his personal webpage that he’s reached an agreement with the Italian squad and hopes to race at the Tour of Veneto in northern Italy on August 28. Schumacher said he’s signed a deal to finish out the 2010 season with the Italian continental team with an option to race in 2011.
Schumacher’s ban officially ends on August 28, the same day he hopes to race at the Veneto tour in Italy. There was no official confirmation from team officials of Schumacher’s announcement.
Schumacher, now 29, tested positive for traces of the banned blood booster, CERA-EPO, during the 2008 Tour, where he won both individual time trials. Post-race tests later revealed the banned substance and he was stripped of both victories. He also later was disqualified from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
Schumacher’s doping positive, coupled with ex-teammate Bernhard Kohl, helped torpedo the Gerolsteiner cycling team. Kohl finished third overall at the 2008 Tour and won the best climber’s jersey, but also tested positive, all but assuring that the German ProTour team would collapse in the wake of the devastating doping scandal.
Schumacher is optimistic that he can follow other ex-banned riders back into the good graces of the peloton.
Riccardo Riccò, another rider who tested positive for CERA-EPO in the scandal-plagued 2008 Tour, recently penned a deal to race with Quick Step in 2011 (though team officials have not confirmed that move).
On a posting on Schumacher’s recently debuted web page, the German rider said he met with UCI president Pat McQuaid to settle “his arguments with the UCI concerning his ban.”
“We had a very positive discussion and I set out the strategy for my return, giving an assurance that I will out in favor of keeping the sport of cycling clean,” Schumacher said. “We cleared up all our differences and Pat McQuaid assured me that I am welcome to return to the sport on completion of the ban and that UCI will not put any obstacles in the way of my comeback. The talks were very important, an important step for me on way back to professional cycling.”