Bernhard Kohl has been found positive for CERA at this past year's Tour de France, and is the second Gerolsteiner rider to be caught for cheating at the Tour. The KOM champion and 3rd overall, Kohl's positive proves once and for all that NO ONE is above suspicion. A young, talented, seemingly clean rider, Kohl is now cast into the same lot as Piepoli, Ricco and his teammate Stefan Schumacher.
Denis Menchov of team Rabobank will likely be elevated to third place overall in the Tour, but the change will be cold comfort for a rider who has been affected by dopers before. Menchov was elevated to overall champion of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana after Roberto Heras was found positive for EPO, but the Russian missed out on all of the celebration of winning in the moment. Now, it looks like history has repeated itself for the Russian, this time at the Tour de France.
For Hans Michael Holzer, director of the now defunct Gerolsteiner outfit, the German will surely be incredulous that yet another of his top riders has tested positive. In fact, Holzer too must be viewed with a bit of skepticism, as he should have been able to keep better track of his star riders. Either way though, it will be dependant on Kohl to take full responsibility for his actions, as he will face a two year ban from competition.
Lotto-Silence, the team of Cadel Evans, will be hardest hit by the news of Kohl's positive, as the powerful mountain climber was slated to join the team in 2009 as a support rider for Evans. With his recent positive, his contract will be null and void with Lotto, and the Belgian team willl have to scramble to find another rider to support Evans in the mountains. They have already signed Thomas Dekker, but they will need at least one more good climber on the team if they are to contend with Alberto Contador and Astana.
Moving forward, all cycling fans must be ready for anything in relation to positive dope tests. If Kohl was doping, then it is entirely possible that many other youngsters are also cheating. Unfortunately, the culture of doping has not been stamped out among today's top pros, young and old. And as long as a cyclist can make thousands of Euros for cheating, expect the same behavior to continue into 2009.