Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kohl seems to come clean about being dirty. . .


Kohl details his doping practice

A crash in the Dauphiné time trial started the downfall for Bernhard Kohl
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Austrian Bernhard Kohl, who returned a non-negative A-sample for EPO, gave details about his doping consumption. He started using it at the Dauphiné Libéré until one week before the Tour de France. He used it twice in three weeks and also said that he did all on his own.

Kohl said he used EPO for the first time. "A lot of things had come together. At the Dauphiné I was in good form. At the time trial I had the fourth-best time, but then crashed. I couldn't train for a week and I was running out of time," Kohl told Austrian paper Kurier. The former Gerolsteiner rider knew already there was a chance that Gerolsteiner would not continue and was also fighting to find a team. "I didn't have a result yet."

Kohl explained that he injected EPO himself, "Into the stomach, just like an insulin shot." He added that neither the team nor a doctor was involved. In fact, he praised Holczer for his anti-doping stance. "He did all he could. He talked to us and lived the clean sport for us – but he can't look over me for 24 hours. He definitely had no clue. Had he known he would have thrown me out of the team."

Kohl wasn't aware of organised doping in any of the teams he had been riding for. Kohl was at Elk Haus, Rabobank and T-Mobile before Gerolsteiner. "Maybe it was like that earlier. I have read the interviews with Jörg Jaksche. In comparison what he says, a lot has improved. It's probably thanks to the blood passport of the UCI. They see exactly when something is wrong. I never had as many controls as this year."

Despite the blood passport, Kohl decided to take the risk. "I was told CERA was undetectable." He started to have a bad feeling at the world championships, when rumours started that something would come out. Kohl realised he could get problems, but was holding out hope. "Maybe they won't find anything, maybe I took it long enough in advance. At the time I had no idea how long it would be detectable."

Kohl is choosing a different approach than his teammate Stefan Schumacher, who was also caught for CERA usage. "He says he is innocent. I can only say, I am going my way," Kohl stated. Kohl went on to explain that the crown witness rule to reduce his sentence would not be for him. "I deserve the ban and I will accept it. A bit of distance will be good, too. In sports you make a lot of sacrifices."

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