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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 12:38 GMT
Sinkewitz receives one-year ban
T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz
Sinkewitz's was the first drugs case to hit this year's Tour
Disgraced cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz has been handed a one-year suspension after admitting taking banned substances.

Sinkewitz was sacked by T-Mobile during the Tour de France after a failed test.

He later admitted using blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) since 2003 and having undergone blood transfusions, adding: "I felt guilty about it all."

And the 27-year-old's co-operation with the enquiry helped ensure an expected two-year ban was reduced, though he was also fined 40,000 euros (28,633).

The ban takes into account Sinkewitz's sacking from T-Mobile so he will be allowed to race again on 17 July, 2008.

The German recently spent five hours giving evidence to the German Cycling Federation's (BDR) disciplinary committee, during which he claimed to have stopped using EPO in 2006.

"It was no secret then that EPO made you faster," he said.

However, he actually blamed his failed drugs test on 8 June on a testosterone gel he applied to his arm to help his recovery after training and added the quantity was "the bare minimum".

It was no secret then that EPO made you faster

Patrik Sinkewitz in a magazine interview

He also said he had blood transfusions - a practice banned by the sports governing body - to improve his blood's oxygenation and increase red cells, administered by team doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, who were sacked in May after admitting giving cyclists EPO.

"In November 2005, at the time of our first meeting, I definitely spoke to them about blood doping and they said to me that it was possible," he added.

"They did not give out EPO readily and only did it so our riders wouldn't go to any other doctors."

However, Sinkewitz said all doping operations in T-Mobile stopped after the 2006 Tour and the team was completely reorganised.

Chief state prosecutor Friedrich Apostel said: "Sinkewitz has already been sufficiently punished by the loss of his job and other sources of income.

"In addition, he has cooperated with the investigation and has given valuable statements about doping practices in professional cycling."

SEE ALSO
Sinkewitz fired after confession
31 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Contador wins tainted 2007 Tour
29 Jul 07 |  Cycling


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