Former Mapei-Quick Step and T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz has today been handed a career-ending eight-year ban for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The 33-year-old had tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH) following the GP Lugano in early 2011, which he raced with the Italian team ISD-Neri.
However, he was cleared of doping charges by the German arbitral tribunal for sports-related disputes the following year.
That decision has now been successfully appealed to CAS by NADA, Germany’s national anti-doping agency, with the penalty reflecting that this is not the first time Sinkewitz has been sanctioned for doping.
During the 2007 Tour de France, a race that T-Mobile began with a drug-free promise following earlier confessions to doping from former riders including Bjarne Riis and Erik Zabel, it was revealed that Sinkewitz had tested positive for testosterone.
He was sacked by T-Mobile for refusing to have his B sample tested, and later admitted using EPO and having banned blood transfusions.
The German rider blamed his positive test on a testosterone gel, and as a result of his co-operation received a reduced one-year ban in November 2007.
Sinkewitz’s admission of doping proved to be the final nail in the coffin for T-Mobile’s sponsorship of cycling, with the company announcing later that month that it was terminating its sponsorship of cycling.
Owner Bob Stapleton kept the outfit going under the name Team Highroad, retaining riders including Mark Cavendish, who had made his Tour de France debut alongside Sinkowitz in 2007.
Following the expiry of his initial ban in 2008, Sinkewitz would return to racing with the Czech team PSK Whirlpool-Author before moving to ISD-Neri in 2010.
When he was cleared of the 2011 doping offence by the German tribunal, Sinkewitz joined another Italian team, Meridiana Kamen, and just last Saturday finished second in the Italian one-day race, the Trofeo Laigueglia.
With Sinkewitz having already served a provisional suspension of 1 year, 3 months and 4 days in connection with the episode, his ban will expire in November 2022 – by when he will be aged 42.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.