Kohl: "Half of the peloton is on CERA"
In his hearing with the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency on Monday, Bernhard Kohl has alleged that "probably half the peloton is on CERA." The Gerolsteiner rider who has admitted using the performance-enhancing drug for the Tour de France insisted that he cooperated with the authorities and "named names" - but admitted that he did not name the doctor who provided him with the latest generation EPO for which he tested positive.
The former Gerolsteiner rider said that he had first heard of CERA last year, and looked it up on the internet. Upon learning that it was a form of blood-booster EPO, "it was out of the question for me." However, as time went on, the drug was discussed in detail in the peloton, he said, with the supposition that "probably half the riders were underway with CERA."
Kohl wants to protect his supplying doctor, saying "He gave it to me at my insistence. He has nothing to do with sport or doping. If I would give his name, his existence would be destroyed," according to the wienerzeitung.at. The 26-year-old further said that "It had nothing to do with a doping network."
The former pro has also testified before the World Anti-Doping Agency and the German federal police Bundeskrimnalamt, which is investigating the former T-Mobile Team for which Kohl rode from 2005-2006. "And I definitely named names there."
Rudolf Massak, general secretary of the Austrian Cycling Federation ÖRF attended Kohl's hearing on Monday and said that he had apparently tried to argue that the difficulties between the UCI and the ASO made a difference in the case. But, as Massak told laola1.at, "it can't be the point of this hearing that you have to discuss whether the positive controls came about at a ProTour race or not." He added, "It is not written anywhere that you can only be tested in races which have been approved by the international federation."
Kohl is facing yet another investigation. Prosecutors in his hometown of Klagenfurt are investigating him for fraud, according to diepresse.com. Doping itself is not a criminal act in Austria, but the investigation is looking at whether he defrauded sponsors, rivals and others. It carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment. (SW)