One by one, the names of the 'Beijing Six' are gradually being revealed. Yesterday, we learned that Italy's Davide Rebellin and Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi had tested positive for the prohibited blood-booster Cera, based on analysis of samples from the Beijing Olympics.
And now the German Olympic Federation has reported that cyclist Stefan Schumacher is also one of the six. Schumacher won both individual time trial stages at last July's Tour de France, only for it to be revealed in October (i.e. post-Beijing) that he had tested positive for - you guessed it - Cera. He has since been given with a two-year ban from cycling's governiung body, the UCI.
It now appears that this was no one-off. Unaware that he had already given a positive sample at the Tour in July, he subsequently went to the Olympics the following month and doped again.
The likely punishment is a multi-year ban, possibly even a lifetime ban. Schumacher is only 27, and any extended sanction will deprive him of his peak racing years.
Innocent until proven guilty, sure - and Schumacher has certainly been both frequent and voluble in his protestations of innocence. But the tests have historically been pretty reliable, and to be caught twice in such a short period - particularly for a new drug which was thought by potential dopers to be undetectable at the time - suggests the odds of a mistake are negligible.
Stefan Schumacher got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, not once but twice. As a result, his career is probably over. That's the price you should expect to pay for systematically and unfairly promoting your success and livelihood at the expense of others. He deserves no sympathy whatsoever.
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