'Like a Plate of Pasta After Training'
German Cyclist Admits Years of Doping
In an interview with SPIEGEL, professional German cyclist Stefan Schumacher has admitted he doped systematically for years. He also accuses a manager and doctors at his former cycling home, Team Gerolsteiner, of having been active in the system.
A prominent German professional cyclist has admitted for the first time that he doped, saying it became as normal a part of his life as eating pasta.
In an interview with SPIEGEL, Stefan Schumacher, a cyclist and two-time stage winner in the 2008 Tour de France, admitted, "I have taken EPO, growth hormone and corticosteroids."
The cyclist, who is 31 today, said he began doping during his early twenties. "I was put into a system," he said. "I'm not proud of it, but that's the way it was. Doping became an integral part of the daily routine, like a plate of pasta after training."
'It Was Totally Crazy'
The racer also asserts that during his time riding for German mineral water producer Gerolsteiner, between 2006 and 2008, the team's doctors also got involved in the doping. He claimed that the Team Gerolsteiner bus had been packed with numerous medications. "With most things, anyone could just take them out of the medications box," he said. "It was totally crazy." Schumacher added that prescriptions for cortisone preparations had also been faked.
"I have never experienced a place where medication was dealt with as loosely as at Gerolsteiner," he told SPIEGEL.
Schumacher also claims that former Team Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer had been well aware of doping among cyclists on the team. "He knew what was happening around him," he claimed. On Friday, Holczer denied the allegation in an interview with the website Cyclingnews. "The allegations concerning my connivance with Schumacher's practices are totally baseless," he told the site.
In August 2010, Schumacher was suspended from professional cycling for two years after he tested positive for traces of CERA, a variant of the banned blood-bootser erythropoietin (EPO). He was charged by Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency soon thereafter. He also tested positive at the Beijing Olympics.
Doping confessions in recent years have rocked the world of cycling sport. Earlier this year, former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong confessed to doping. Prior to his interview with SPIEGEL, Schumacher had denied having doped.