T-Mobile fire Sinkewitz

2007-07-31 13:08

Berlin - German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz, who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in June, was fired by his T-Mobile team on Tuesday after refusing to have his back-up sample tested.

T-Mobile dismissed Sinkewitz after the German Cycling Federation said the 26-year-old rider declined to have his B-sample analysed.

"For the team, this means that it is a positive doping case," T-Mobile spokesperson Christian Frommert said. "That means he will be fired by the team."

T-Mobile had initially suspended Sinkewitz after he tested positive during training on June 8 - a month before the start of the Tour de France. He competed in the race until he crashed into a spectator during the eighth stage on July 15.

T-Mobile said in a statement that its sporting director, Rolf Aldag, now expects a "complete and comprehensive explanation" from Sinkewitz.

"Patrik needs to come clean on everything, so some light can be shed on this affair," he said.

Sinkewitz had signed the International Cycling Union's new anti-doping charter that commits riders to promise that they are not involved in doping and agree to pay a year's salary on top of a two-year ban if caught doping.

His case was the latest to shake German cycling in the past few months.

Several former riders for Telekom, now renamed T-Mobile, admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s, including Bjarne Riis, a Dane who won the Tour de France in 1996.

Jan Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour, has denied any wrongdoing but retired in February after being implicated in the Spanish blood-doping scandal known as Operation Puerto.

T-Mobile's current anti-doping program is considered among the most rigorous in cycling.

The July 18 announcement of Sinkewitz's positive test prompted Germany's two main public television channels, ARD and ZDF, to drop their live coverage of the Tour in mid-race.

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