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Austrian Bernhard Kohl admits doping on Tour de France

Latest update : 2009-03-31

The Tour de France's third-placed and best climber Austrian Bernard Kohl admitted to using a banned blood booster EPO. He said he had acted alone. He faces a two-year ban from competitive cycling.

Austrian Bernhard Kohl on Wednesday admitted doping in the Tour de France in July when he finished as best climber and third overall in the race.

The results of a doping test he took during the race "correspond to the facts. I succumbed to temptation," Kohl, 26, told a hastily arranged news conference on his return to Vienna, two days after his team manager reported the failed test.

Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer told Reuters then that Kohl had tested positive for EPO CERA, or Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator, the second Gerolsteiner rider found to have taken the substance to improve his performance.

"I have decided to renounce my right to a B test in order to clean my slate. A lot of people won't believe me. Who believes a doping sportsman who now admits it?" a sombre-looking Kohl told the news conference carried on Austrian ORF state television.

"I have only myself to blame for this mess," said Kohl, who faces a two-year ban from competitive cycling.

ORF said Kohl did not disclose where he obtained the CERA but that he had said he used it after crashing in the Dauphine Libere warm-up race in June because he felt weak.

ORF said Kohl broke down in tears several times during the news conference but did not show pictures.

The other Gerolsteiner rider to fail a dope test on the 2008 Tour was Germany's Stefan Schumacher, who won the two time trials.

Austrian Sports Secretary Reinhold Lopatka bemoaned Kohl's offence on Monday as a shock for all sport enthusiasts and said Austrian had lost a sporting idol.

But Lopatka said the incident showed the anti-doping system was working better than ever and could succeed in stamping out the scourge.

Kohl had become the first Austrian to win the Tour de France polka dot jersey for the best climber.

The positive tests of Kohl, Schumacher and Italy's Leonardo Piepoli this month were the result of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) retroactively testing blood samples for the new type of erythropoietin (EPO).
 

Date created : 2008-10-15

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