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Sinkewitz: German cycling federation knew about EPO use

HAMBURG, Germany -- Former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz
said the German Cycling Federation knew he used EPO early in his
career and lied about his withdrawal from the 2000 World
Championships.

The 27-year-old rider, serving a one-year ban after testing
positive for elevated testosterone levels before the Tour de France
in June, has been cooperating with authorities.

Sinkewitz said he was sent home by the German team before the
2000 World Championships in France after his blood tests were too
high because of the EPO use. The federation knew about the test
results but "protected" him by officially listing a cold as the
reason he withdrew, Sinkewitz said in the Saturday editions of the
Suddeutsche Zeitung daily.

He said he sought advice on doping from Germany national team
trainer Peter Weibel before the 2000 World Championships. Sinkewitz
said Weibel, who was suspended in May for helping athletes dope,
told the rider to be careful and didn't actually recommend EPO.

"But he also didn't advise against it," Sinkewitz said.

Sinkewitz said he bought the banned blood booster at a pharmacy
and ejected it himself. When Weibel found out that the rider's
blood levels could trigger a positive doping test, Sinkewitz said
he told him to go home.

The cycling federation on Saturday confirmed Sinkewitz's story,
saying it was backed up by Weibel's testimony. Weibel's suspension
came after an investigation by federal police triggered by
Sinkewitz's revelations about doping on the T-Mobile team.

Besides Sinkewitz's ban, he was fined $58,556 and had his
results from the 2006 Tour de France and the 2007 Switzerland Tour
annulled.

Sinkewitz, who rode for T-Mobile the past two years, praised new
American manager Bob Stapleton's strict anti-doping policies and
internal testing.

"That wasn't just a show for outsiders," Sinkewitz said. "Bob
Stapleton really wants a clean team."