Stefan Schumacher suing French anti-doping group

German won both Tour time trials; tested positive for CERA

German cyclist Stefan Schumacher, who failed two drugs tests at the Tour de France, confirmed here Thursday he was suing the French anti-doping authorities (AFLD) for defamation.

A statement issued by Schumacher's lawyer Michael Lehner said: "These tests were undertaken... with a number of possibilities of blood contamination, of mixing up samples and other circumstances which could have distorted the result."

The 27-year-old Schumacher is one of four riders to have failed drugs tests at this year's Tour de France. His former Gerolsteiner teammate Bernhard Kohl, who finished the Tour third overall wearing the climber's King of the Mountains polka dot jersey, was also found guilty of the same charges, but has confessed.

According to the AFLD the German rider, who sprung a surprise by winning both time trials, tested positive for the new generation of EPO blood booster CERA on July 3, two days before the start of the Tour, and on July 15, a rest day at Pau.

In October the German Cycling federation (BDR) said Schumacher, who was riding for the Gerolsteiner team at the Tour, was facing a two-year ban and a fine. The cyclist himself has denied all knowledge of doping. His contract with QuickStep was nullified by team director Patrick Lefevere after Schumacher's doping results were made public.

Lehner described as "arbitrary" the suspension handed down to his client who he said had applied to the (BDR) for a professional rider's licence for the 2009 season.

"Stefan Schumacher is currently preparing for the next season and has already been training in Cyprus," the lawyer added.

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