In the lights of news that T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz failed a doping test for testosterone on June 8, the team have issued a statement, reproduced below.
As a result of the news about Sinkewitz, German TV channels ARD and ZDF have ceased live broadcasts the Tour de France in protest of yet another doping revelation originating from the country. German cycling has been rocked in the past year due to Jan Ullrich's implication in Operacion Puerto, and Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag's confessions of EPO use.
The T-Mobile Team has suspended team rider Patrik Sinkewitz with immediate effect for violations of the Team Code of Conduct. Sinkewitz returned an adverse analytical finding for testosterone following an out-of-competition test taken by Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on June 8th.
?This development is very disappointing,? said team general manager Bob Stapleton. ?If the analysis of the B-sample returns the same result as the A-Sample then Patrik Sinkewitz will be immediately released from the team and he will be punished severely. Our Team Code of Conduct excludes cheating in any form."
In the event of a positive B-sample Sinkewitz faces a two-year ban from competition - and as he also signed the UCI ?s 'Riders Commitment to a New Cycling' declaration, he would be obliged to repay a year?s salary for a doping violation.
"It?s a big shock to us, but we always knew the challenge facing us in the fight against doping. However, this result also shows the effectiveness of the NADA testing system, as well as emphasizing the importance of out-of-competition testing,? said Bob Stapleton. ?It doesn?t change our ethical stance and our commitment to clean and fair sport."
To ensure the transparency of T-Mobile's anti-doping programme, a panel of independent experts regularly carry out controls on riders to test for blood manipulation, while classic doping tests are carried out by agencies like NADA. "The team and the sponsor fully support NADA's work; we provide financial support to NADA and we strongly back the imposition of heavy sanctions for doping violations," says Stapleton.
Christian Frommert, director of sponsoring communication at Deutsche Telekom AG, commented on the future of the company's cycling sponsorship: "After the Tour de France everybody involved will sit down to discuss the way forward in a calm and considered way."
The 26-year-old Sinkewitz, who dropped out of the Tour on Sunday following a collision with a fan, is currently in hospital in Hamburg where he is awaiting surgery on an open fracture of the nose. He has five days to demand the analysis of his B Sample.
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