Camenzind announces retirement

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 11.00pm
Oscar Camenzind has announced his retirement at a press conference in Lucerne after his positive tes
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE It came as no great surprise that when Oscar Camenzind faced the press in Lucerne yesterday he announced his immediate retirement from the sport. Sacked by his Phonak trade team and dropped from the Swiss team at the Olympics after testing positive for EPO, Camenzind is facing a two-year ban, which would make him almost 35 by the time he was eligible to compete again. Camenzind explained in the press conference that he had been pushed into taking EPO by the pressure he had put himself under to produce results. Hampered by glandular fever in 2002 and victim of a bad crash at last year's Tour of Flanders, Camenzind had struggled to reproduce the form that had won him the world title and the Tour of Lombardy in 1998, and Lige-Bastogne-Lige in 2001. At the Lucerne press conference Camenzind said he had taken the blood-booster EPO for the first time in his career on July 17, injecting the product into his arm himself. Five days later, a representative of the Swiss Olympic Committee turned up at Camenzind's house to carry out a random dope control, and that test revealed the presence of EPO. "I knew as soon as the tester turned up that I was going to be caught," he admitted. "I've done something really stupid which I am now going to pay for. I chose the most stupid way of preparing myself. I've got no excuses." Despite knowing that he was likely to test positive, Camenzind still rode in Phonak colours at the post-Tour World Cup races. He finished 39th in San Sebastian last Saturday, the last competitive appearance of a now tarnished pro career.

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