Germany’s Stefan Schumacher pulled on the Tour de France yellow jersey here Tuesday, and was then forced to defend himself quickly over a positive test for amphetamines last year and explain why he was invited to race the Tour, while Tom Boonen was not.
Schumacher, who denies taking the stimulant, tested positive after a police stop while returning from a disco. The incident reminds some of Boonen’s out-of-competition positive test for cocaine this spring, which resulted in Boonen being denied a Tour start.
Schumacher said he was sorry over his own “regrettable” episode, which occurred only a week after last week’s world championships in Stuttgart.
The German claimed he did not take amphetamines, a stimulant which can be found in many over-the-counter medicines, and he was quick to underline the differences in his and Boonen’s case.
“Our cases cannot be compared. Tom Boonen underwent a doping test. I didn’t undergo a doping test. It was a police control when I was coming back from a disco,” said Schumacher as he sat in the race’s yellow jersey.
“I don’t have a problem with Boonen, he’s a big champion and I don’t know why he’s not been invited to the Tour.
“He tested positive, but he hasn’t done anything to break the WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) code, but I can’t comment too much on his case because I don’t know all the details.”
Boonen, the winner of last year’s green jersey for the race’s points competition, tested positive in an out-of-competition control by the ministry of the Flemish Community on May 26.
Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michale Holczer, who is still searching for a new team sponsor because the German bottled water company is pulling out at the end of 2008, also defended his rider.
“Schumacher’s accident wasn’t an anti-doping control. It was a police control, which is different from the Boonen situation,” he said.
“Stefan had paid dearly for this whole episode. He’s been able to ride since March, but we’ve sanctioned him and now for us the affair is over.”