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France bans Schumacher

The French Anti-doping Agency AFLD on Thursday handed German cyclist Stefan Schumacher a two-year ban from racing in France after failing a doping test at the 2008 Tour de France, his lawyer said.

The decision issued by the AFLD applies only to events contested on French soil, said Schumacher’s attorney Michael Lehner. That ruling, however, may be extended globally if the German cycling federation or the UCI pursue the case.

Schumacher said he would fight the ban.

“All I want is a fair hearing so that I can prove my innocence,” said Schumacher who won two stages of the 2008 Tour de France.

Schumacher briefly wore the yellow jersey in last year’s Tour and won both individual time trials, but then tested positive for a new variant of the banned blood booster EPO, known as a Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator (CERA).

The drug, developed by Roche and marketed as Micera, is a longer-lasting version of EPO, which stimulates the production of red blood cells and results in a significant performance boost.

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