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BERLIN (AFP) — German Stefan Schumacher was cleared by a court in Stuttgart, Germany, on Tuesday of deceiving his ex-employer.
The 32-year-old was banned for two years, later reduced on appeal by several months, after testing positive for banned blood-booster CERA, a new generation of EPO, during the 2008 Tour de France and Beijing Olympics later that same year.
The public prosecutor accused Schumacher of deceiving his then employer Gerolsteiner by doping and hit him with a 16,800-euro ($23,100) fine.
Gerolsteiner general manager Hans-Michael Holczer has always insisted he knew nothing about doping at the team but Schumacher gave an interview to the Der Speigel newspaper in March claiming that doping at the team had become as banal as “having a plate of pasta after training.”
And the court decided that Holczer must have been aware of the doping culture at the team and hence could not have been deceived.
Although he denied doping at the time he was caught, Schumacher, who returned to cycling when his ban ended in August 2010 and currently rides on the UCI Continental circuit for Danish team Christina Watches-Onfone, admitted in March that he had used “EPO, growth hormone and corticosteroids” since his mid-20s.