By Agence Presse France
Bernhard Kohl, who last month admitted to using drugs in the Tour de France where he finished third, was banned from cycling for two years on Monday.
The suspension was handed down by the disciplinary commission of Austria’s anti-doping agency, NADA.
Kohl tested positive in retroactive controls carried out by France’s national anti-doping agency last month for CERA, the new generation of banned blood booster EPO.
The 26-year-old Austrian, who as well as making the podium finished this year’s Tour de France as best climber, confessed to taking the drug 48 hours after the test results were announced. Kohl’s positive prompted his current team, Gerolsteiner, to close its doors months ahead of its planned cessation. Kohl’s pending contract with the Belgian Silence-Lotto team was also withdrawn.
Kohl can still appeal the suspension with the independent arbitrary commission in Austria and the international Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The rider, who described his suspension Monday as “disappointing,” said he would wait to receive written confirmation of the sentence before deciding whether to appeal.
A two-year ban is in keeping with policies outlined in the World Anti-Doping Code and any appeal would require Kohl to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances somehow apply to his case. Recent revisions to the code do allow for lesser penalties to be applied to athletes who cooperate with investigators, something Kohl has indicated he is prepared to do.